Although Jacoby Ellsbury has his attention focused elsewhere right now (like leading the Red Sox to the World Series), his attention could soon turn to a pressing issue: where will he spend the next portion of his career.
According to multiple reports, including national baseball writer Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Seattle Mariners are the most likely destination.
Rosenthal predicted that Ellsbury, who grew up in Oregon and attended Oregon State University, will return to the northwest with a six-or-seven year deal with the Mariners at an average of roughly $21 million per year. Yes, that’s a lot of money. But on the same hand, yes, the Mariners need a lot of help.
Ellsbury, 30, swiped 52 bases this year, and was caught just four times. Obviously, as time wears on, his speed will diminish, but he has a tremendous baseball IQ, as well – which has led to his success on the base paths.
The injuries that Ellsbury has experienced have been rough luck more than anything else, and shouldn’t deter teams like Seattle from taking a chance on him. The Mariners are leaps and bounds behind the majority of the American League West, and with over $34 million in payroll coming off the books this winter, now is the time to make a splash.
Not only offensively, but defensively, Ellsbury would be a major upgrade for the M’s. His above-average defense in center field helped him net a 5.8 WAR this season and his bat would be one of, if not the, best in the Seattle lineup.
Yes, it’s a risk. But with the future bleak in Seattle, this team needs to pull the trigger. Whether it’s Ellsbury or other prominent free agents, expect Seattle to be busy this winter.