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.