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Will the Red Sox trade center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury this winter?
While the Boston Red Sox technically have Jacoby Ellsbury under team control through next season, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald believes the club will either look to sign the center fielder to a contract extension or trade him:
Contractually, at least, the Red Sox control Ellsbury for one more season, leaving them obligated to do nothing more than repeat the arbitration process and give the center fielder another one-year raise from his $8.05 million salary before he reaches free agency.
That would be the shortsighted course of action.
Ellsbury’s agent is Scott Boras, making it that much harder for the Red Sox to sign the 29-year-old. After an impressive 2011 campaign which garnered Ellsbury MVP consideration, he only hit .271/.313/.370 over 303 at-bats this season.
Despite his inconsistent numbers, Lauber believes Boras will push for a contract extension greater than the six-year, $85.5 million deal Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones received. He says the asking price could come closer to the eight-year, $160 million contract Matt Kemp signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
If this is the case, Lauber says the Red Sox may be better off trading Ellsbury. As Boston will likely be targeting talented young starting pitchers in return, he says they could looks to three teams with such depth who could be in the market for a center fielder; the San Francisco Giants, Washington Nationals or Texas Rangers.