Many Sox fans are looking forward past what appears to be a lost 2012 season for Boston, and Rob Bradford asked a very important question for those fans to agent Scott Boras: Is Jacoby Ellsbury going to be here long term?
According to Boras, no discussions have taken place between him and Ben Cherington regarding Ells. This is, of course, no surprise -- Boras clients almost always go to free agency. Why? Because that's where you make money. Signing a deal pre-free agency is a way to lock in guaranteed money earlier, but not the way to maximize your financial potential.
The most interesting quote, though, was about the total amount. The most common comparison for an Ellsbury contract was Matt Kemp's recent eight-year, $160 million deal. Both speedy outfielders with some power who have come up with one organization and are coming off MVP-level years, the relationship seems clear. But Scott Boras doesn't think so:
"The Matt Kemp contract is not a free agent contract. It's not a barometer that has a great deal of relevance other than it's what players get who are not free agents and are really talented," Boras said. "So when you look at the free agent markets and you look at those types of contracts you can understand there is always a big disparity between a free agent contract and a contract that is signed before the player is a free agent."
Despite the seemingly similar set of tools between the players, Boras sees Jacoby's situation in 2013 as different. And you know what that means? He's going to ask for more. If that was the kind of money he was thinking, he would have agreed. But my guess is he sees Ells coming back healthy, putting in another big year in '13, and then going for a better deal than Kemp. Would you want to give Jacoby that kind of money? I wouldn't. But I fear he may require it if he performs at his 2011 level once he is healthy again.