The Ellsbury dilemma

Sam Galanis
Contributing Writer

After a record-breaking game against the Phillies Thursday, soreness in his left groin caused Jacoby Ellsbury to miss the entire series against the Yankees. Former Red Sox infielder and current WEEI personality Lou Merloni had some choice words to say about that.

"You look at Jacoby Ellsbury, he needs to prove he can go out there and play every single day and play through injury," Merloni said to Michael Felger on Comcast Sports Network.

AP Photo/LM Otero

And maybe he’s right. When you look at all the time Ellsbury has missed due to injury and think of the trouble the organization has had dealing with his agent Scott Boras, it starts to look like Ellsbury isn’t worth the trouble.

That’s not to take away from everything Ellsbury has done for the Red Sox. Ellsbury made his Major League debut for the Sox in June of the 2007 season, and the rest is history. He’s been a World Series Champ, an all star, a Gold Glove winner, a Silver Slugger, and a member of the 30-30 club. But all of that only helps the club when he’s actually playing.

The trouble started in 2010, when he missed most of the season due to fractured ribs. He made a comeback in 2011, but was back to the DL early in 2012 for his shoulder and only played 74 games that season. They were legitimate injuries, but it was questionable whether or not he needed as much time off as he took.

With such inconsistency, the Red Sox organization is only going to become less and less willing to shell out an all star paycheck for him when he becomes a free agent after this season. It looks even worse with other players on the Sox pushing through their injuries. Most notably, Dustin Pedroia revealed he has been playing with a torn ligament in his thumb all season, and Mike Napoli has been playing with a degenerative hip condition.

"With all of this stuff adding up, it adds up to this point: do you want to bring him back? Do you want to take the risk? I just don't see how you do," Merloni said in the same interview.

I have to agree with Merloni. If Ellsbury keeps taking time off, it will only make him more unreliable. He didn’t want the day off that Farrell gave all of his starters last month, and he didn’t want to be moved from the top of the batting order, but he has no problem spending his time on the DL. Ellsbury needs to take one for the team, or else I have a feeling we won’t be seeing him next season.

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