With Jacoby Ellsbury set to become a free agent, there's a good chance he has played his last game in Boston. ESPN MLB Insider Buster Olney reported Thursday that the Red Sox twice made a run at trying to sign the center fielder and twice came up well short. Here's the excerpt:
According to sources: After the 2011 season, for which Ellsbury finished second in the American League MVP race, the Red Sox offered him a deal that fell slightly short of $100 million. The counteroffer from agent Scott Boras, according to sources, was for a deal of about $130 million. The gap in the negotiations was too large to bridge at that time.
In 2012, Ellsbury's performance took a step back, with injuries limiting him to 74 games and a .271 batting average with 22 extra-base hits in 323 at-bats. Sources say the Red Sox took another run at signing him -- for less than they had offered before, because of his down year. Boston proposed a contract in the range of what B.J. Upton got from the Atlanta Braves, about $75.25 million over five years.
Ellsbury's side turned that down, gambling that the player would bounce back, and the center fielder had a better year in 2013, leading the American League with 52 stolen bases and scoring 92 runs in 134 games, with 48 extra-base hits. The talks stalled last winter, and now Ellsbury is poised to hit the market as the most sought-after outfielder, with the Mariners and Rangers perhaps being the teams that are the most aggressive in trying to sign him.