Home > MLB > 40 Guys in 30 Days: Jacoby Ellsbury

40 Guys in 30 Days: Jacoby Ellsbury

If I knew more about HTML, this post would just contain giant, flashing text that says DO NOT EXTEND THIS MAN over and over again. Sadly, I do not.

Jacoby Ellsbury
2012 stats: 261 PA, .257/.299/.363
73 OPS+, .299 wOBA, 1.9 UZR, 0.9 fWAR, 0.2 bWAR
2013 contract status: Arbitration (third time; $8.05 million in 2012)

Scott Boras is a very smart man, and for that reason I expect him to negotiate a very lucrative contract extension for Jacoby Ellsbury this winter. The Red Sox will be looking to make a positive splash after a disastrous season, and what better way to spend some (not all, but some) of the money they saved on dumping three albatross contracts than locking up their budding young homegrown superstar for six or seven years?

Of course, the main problem there is that Jacoby Ellsbury is not a budding young superstar. Don’t get me wrong, now; I’m not saying that he’s bad. I’m not saying that his .662 OPS this season is indicative of his true talent. What I am saying is that he’s not the nine-win, 30-homer, MVP candidate that we saw in 2011. And if that’s what the Red Sox pay for and expect to get, they’re going to be disappointed.

Judging Ellsbury’s true talent relative to his 2011 season is made harder by the fact that that year is sandwiched between two years that were basically lost to injury. You have to go back to 2009 to find another healthy year for him, and if you take that as his ceiling then you’re basically saying that none of what he accomplished last year was repeatable; I’m not quite willing to say that.

I don’t think Ellsbury is going to hit 30 homers in a season again. But is 15 or 20 out of the question? If he can maintain a .300ish batting average with a decent walk rate, but put up more than the .114 ISO he had in ’08 and ’09, then he’s still a great guy to have at the top of the batting order. If the Red Sox lock that guy up, rather than paying for a young Josh Hamilton, fine.

Somehow, I don’t think that’s going to be the case.

Next time: Another reason we should have kept Josh Beckett: Every fifth day he could hit and we can DH for this guy.

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