Less than a month after winning his second World Series as a member of the Boston Red Sox, Jacoby Ellsbury is looking less likely to return to the team. According to Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe, a team official said that a reunion with Ellsbury is now considered a "long shot", and many reports indicate that the outfielder's current asking price is higher than what the Red Sox are willing to give him.
As Abraham's colleague Nick Cafardo reported this morning, Ellsbury will likely have to accept a five-year deal worth less than $100 million to return to the Red Sox, who have Jackie Bradley Jr. ready to replace Ellsbury in center field at Fenway.
With the Red Sox seeming less likely to retain Ellsbury, other teams look like they are about to make a run at him. Cafardo notes that the Rangers, Tigers, Yankees, Mariners, Phillies and Giants are among the teams with some level of interest in signing Ellsbury, and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that he is looking for deal in the range of the seven-year, $142 million contract that Carl Crawford signed with Boston three years ago.
The Rangers seem to be focusing their efforts on Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran, but could turn to Ellsbury if those pursuits fall through. The team is prioritizing offense this winter, and is also looking at a possible reunion with Nelson Cruz.
According to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick, the Mariners' interest in Ellsbury has been overblown, with the team more interested in Cruz, Beltran, Jhonny Peralta and Kendrys Morales. Seattle has long-been rumored as a likely destination for Ellsbury because he is from the area, so he may be willing to take a slight discount to sign with the Mariners if they ramp up their interest.
The Yankees have a long list of targets this winter, but Heyman notes that Ellsbury ranks behind Beltran and Shin-Soo Choo in their eyes. The Bronx Bombers undoubtedly have the financial capability to sign Ellsbury to the deal he is looking for, and his success in the AL East may cause them to look at him more seriously later in the winter.
In addition to the seven teams mentioned above, the Mets have been rumored as a potential destination for the 30-year old. While they are looking at outfield help, they seem much more interested in Curtis Granderson than Ellsbury at this point.