On Friday Jan.18, Jacoby Ellsbury received a decent pay raise from the Boston Red Sox, and the two sides avoided arbitration. On the last day to make a deal before an arbitration date would be set, the Red Sox agreed to terms with their center fielder.
From Ellsbury’s Twitter account: “Deal done! Excited to get to spring training!!!”
The one-year, $9 million contract gives Ellsbury a $1 million pay raise. Without a long term deal in the works, Boston's 29-year-old star is still set to become a free agent after the 2013 season.
Ellsbury will take center stage in the Red Sox’s new outfield for 2013. The six-year veteran has become a constant on a changing roster during the last few years in Boston.
Ellsbury’s early-season injury was a setback in 2012, but his inability to excel later in season gave fans concern. He was either unable to fully recover, or his 2011 season was an aberration. With down numbers across the board last year, Ellsbury hit .271 with four home runs, 26 RBI, 43 runs scored and 14 stolen bases in 74 games for the Red Sox.
Ellsbury, who could leave Boston next year, will attempt to prove worthy of a long-term contract that would be commensurable to MVP-candidate outfielders. I won’t hold my breath.
The Red Sox signed the 32-year-old Victorino to a three-year, $39 million contract this offseason.
Victorino will replace Cody Ross in Boston's right field. He has more natural talent, and he might equal the presence of Ross in the clubhouse, but Victorino is not an upgrade. The “Flyin' Hawaiian” is clearly heading to the down side of his career at a faster pace.
The Philadelphia Phillies sent their two-time All-Star and World Series champion to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a trade-deadline deal. With the two teams, Victorino notched a season average of .255 with a .704 OPS, 11 homers, 72 runs scored and 39 stolen bases. Playing all three outfield positions, the three-time Gold Glove winner made just two errors.
Despite his numerous injuries over the past two years, the Red Sox have paved the way for Ryan Kalish to become a major league starting outfielder.
Prior to last season, Boston traded Josh Reddick, and during the season they released Darnell McDonald. This offseason Ryan Sweeney wasn’t tendered a contract, and Jerry Sands was traded.
The 25-year-old prospect will only have Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes to battle him in the outfield. As long as he can stay healthy in 2013, Kalish will finally have a chance to showcase his skills and live up to his potential.
Kalish has registered a .243 batting average with a .644 OPS, four home runs, 29 RBI and 13 steals over 89 games in the 2010 and 2012 seasons combined as a major leaguer. It is a small sample, which includes an impressive 2010 season and a rough year in 2012. A look at his minor league statistics shows that we can expect a higher batting average, but much more power or speed is doubtful.
Ellsbury will get the most attention this year, but all three of the Red Sox outfielders have something to prove. If they play with their future on the line and pursue team success, they might be able to form a solid unit for at least one year.
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