|Photo from Boston.com|
Let's have a moment of silence...OK, that's over. Jacoby's gone and most of Red Sox Nation will be trashing their Ellsbury jersey or t-shirt...or burning it, if that's your style. Hopefully not too many of those people, though. Let's take a moment and put this in perspective, though - there is some good to come of this. Here are 5 positive things to come of losing Jacoby (in no particular order).
1. Jackie Bradley, Jr. will be given a real shot. With Jacoby gone, it will give Jackie Bradley a shot to establish himself as a top-notch center fielder...at least for the next few years and we repeat this process all over. But, in the meantime, Bradley will probably be a similar story to Ells, in so far as he'll establish himself as a regular in the Sox lineup. He also gives the Red Sox the ability to keep Shane Victorino in right field, where he was so good last year.
2. The Red Sox will move quick on Napoli now. This one is pure speculation, but I think this and losing Salty yesterday will serve as a wake up call with regards to Mike Napoli. At least I hope that proves to be the case. Whatever Larry Lucchino may have said about getting too attached to the veterans, Mike Napoli and Boston is a match made in heaven, so hopefully this puts a fire under the Red Sox organization.
3. It gives the Sox organization more flexibility with Jon Lester. Jon Lester is a free agent after 2014, and if he has another great season similar to 2013, then he'll probably command a similar deal to Ellsbury. I can't claim to know what's going on inside the Red Sox organization, but my guess is they let Jacoby walk with Lester in the back of his head. To put it simply, Jacoby Ellsbury is more expendable than Jon Lester - see #1. Jon Lester is the ace of this pitching staff right now, so my guess is they'll make a conscious effort to give Lester a big contract.
4. This smacks of the Yankees overpaying. Think about it - Ellsbury is injury prone, and he's not getting any younger. That's all the Yankees have been doing this off-season - spending recklessly. And it hasn't been smart spending, in my mind - they overpaid for both Brian McCann and Ells, so we will probably wind up getting the last laugh while the Yankees overpay for sub par production.
5. It gives the Red Sox the chance to go after a Shin Shoo Choo or Matt Kemp. They could end up pursuing either of those guys more aggressively, if they decide to go that route. But, like I said in #1, they could also just give Bradley the starting job. We'll see, but the Red Sox do have the option of more aggressively pursuing a replacement in free agency or via trade.
And let's not lose perspective here - he gave us 6 great years and 2 World Series trophies, so that's all well and good. Plus, baseball is a business and both the Red Sox and Ellsbury decided it wasn't in the best business interest of each side to bring him back. Besides, the Dustin Pedroia's and Derek Jeter's of the world, who care more about loyalty than big bucks are VERY few and far between.
Thoughts? Let me know on Twitter or leave a comment.