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Red Sox have "keen interest" in retaining Jacoby Ellsbury

Elsa

For months now, it has been assumed that the Red Sox will let Jacoby Ellsbury walk after this season.

Ellsbury will likely demand a large contract (with help from agent Scott Boras) and the Red Sox already have a ready-made replacement for the center fielder in Jackie Bradley Jr.

But according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Red Sox may have "keen interest" in re-signing the star center fielder.

The Red Sox have keen interest in re-signing star center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, according to people familiar with their thinking. However, Red Sox connected people are suggesting now that if Ellsbury's market goes well into the nine-figure arena – and considering their own $142 million deal for Carl Crawford three winters ago among other comps, it could happen – they aren't necessarily optimistic that Boston will be able to retain him.

The Red Sox tried to re-sign Ellsbury sometime before this season, and all indications are they will try again. The issue is whether they have interest in getting into a bidding war that could go easily past the $100 million mark, well past it if you listen to Ellsbury's agent Scott Boras' words Thursday.

"I think any team would say in a perfect world they would stick to shorter-term deals," Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said Thursday. "There's always exceptions. We obviously made an exception in [Dustin] Pedroia's case."

Ellsbury will likely be part of a relatively weak free agent class. After Robinson Cano, Ellsbury is likely to garner the largest contract.

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