Jacoby Ellsbury's reportedly strained relationship with the Red Sox and his attractiveness to potential suitors make him a strong trade candidate this off-season, according to Paul White of USA Today. Boston GM Theo Epstein has hinted that the Red Sox roster is in need of a "restocking," according to White, and Ellsbury could be a good fit for the Padres, Diamondbacks, Angels, Braves, Mets and Cubs.
On the heels of the rumor above comes this juicy rumor from my inbox-
The Cubs and Red Sox may revisit talks regarding Jacoby Ellsbury as soon as this week but it could get more aggressive once the Winter Meetings get underway. The Red Sox were reportedly very interested in 3rd baseman Aramis Ramirez who is exercised his 14.6 million dollar option for 2011. Aramis also has a 16 million dollar club option for 2012 with a 2 million dollar buyout. The Cubs and Red Sox have been trading partners in the past most notably when they struck a deal that sent Nomar to the Cubs. The Red Sox and Cubs have also had their share of blockbuster trades going bust. One of those busted deals had the Cubs acquiring Manny Ramirez and a young 2nd baseman by the name of Dustin Pedroia. In that deal the Red Sox would have received Aramis Ramirez among other players from a third unknown team. That unknown team would have received prospects in the deal as well.
Sources tell me this deal will involve more than just Ellsbury and Ramirez with the Sox looking for an outfielder in return and the Cubs looking for a prospect or two. The Red Sox could try to pull away Brett Jackson or Tyler Colvin but it is unlikely the Cubs would part with either one. The Cubs would love to give them Soriano but the Red Sox would require the Cubs to pay almost 80-90% of the contract for that to happen. The most likely scenario is for the Red Sox to acquire Fukudome or Marlon Byrd in the trade. The Cubs will have to pick up the tab on Fukudome or Byrd with the Red Sox paying all of Aramis Ramirez contract; that being said if the Cubs are paying off one of the outfielder’s contract then they will need compensation in the form of a mid-level prospect or two.
So in the end you have the Cubs acquiring an inexpensive speedy 5 tool outfielder and one or two mid-level prospects. The Cubs also rid themselves of one of their pricey veterans along with getting younger. They do leave a large void at 3rd base but a temporary fix would be moving Starlin Castro or Blake DeWitt to 3rd or bring up Vitters , signing a cheap free agent like Jorge Cantu, Eric Chavez, Ty Wigginton, or Miguel Tejada; or make a trade for a third baseman. Lost in this trade is the Cubs removing 14.6 million dollar off the books for this season and at the very least 2 million for 2012. The Cubs could use the 14.6 million they have saved by trading Aramis to acquire a starting pitcher, 1st baseman, and/or a set-up man.
The Red Sox also get a really good deal. They get rid of yet another player that they are having issues with in Ellsbury and acquired a 3rd baseman in Aramis Ramirez who could battle for the AL MVP if the stays healthy enough to. This takes out the possibility of the Red Sox signing Adrian Beltre who is expected to sign a deal around 4-5 years around 50-80 million dollars (the A’s already offered 5 year 64 million) so it also saves them money as well. Instead of spending that large amount the Red Sox will be on the hook for at the most 21 million over two seasons for Aramis Ramirez. The Red Sox also essentially get a free outfielder to fill Ellsbury’s void. Fukudome could benefit from platooning with Mike Cameron although Marlon Byrd would give them clubhouse leadership, a player that gives 110% all of the time, and steady numbers throughout a season. Both would fit well in the mold of players that have come and gone through the Red Sox roster. The Red Sox could also use the money they were willing to give to Beltre and sign a big name free agent Jayson Werth or Carl Crawford or a mid-level guy like Magglio Ordonez, Hideki Matsui, Valdimir Guerrero, or Rick Ankiel. They could also trade for Justin Upton like they have been rumored to be interested in.
Rumors run wild this time of year, just thought I would give you a heads up on this one.
Could this be a blockbuster in the making or just another bust? Only time will tell!
Until Next Time….