Jacoby Ellsbury and Stephen Drew have hit the open market.
ESPN.com’s Gordon Edes reported Monday afternoon that both Ellsbury and Drew would allow the 5 p.m deadline to pass without accepting the Red Sox’ $14.1 million qualifying offer. The decisions, while unsurprising, mark each player’s official plunge into free agency.
WEEI.com’s Alex Speier, meanwhile, reported Monday that fellow free agent Mike Napoli had also declined the Red Sox’ qualifying offer. Napoli, who is coming off a strong season, reportedly is seeking a multiyear deal in free agency as well.
The Boston Herald’s John Tomase confirmed both reports.
Both Ellsbury and Drew are represented by agent Scott Boras, who will likely be a busy man as this week’s MLB GM meetings in Orlando, Fla. The Red Sox can continue to negotiate with Ellsbury and/or Drew. If another team signs either player, the signing team will relinquish a draft pick to the Sox as compensation — by virtue of Boston making a qualifying offer.
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