Speaking on the Dennis & Callahan Show with John Dennis and Dale Arnold, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein confirmed that the organization has previously attempted to sign Jacoby Ellsbury to a multi-year extension, and hope to still execute such a deal in the future.
"Yeah, I think with all our young players that we see as core members of the organization that's something that we're interested in, and we certainly see Jacoby as that," said Epstein when asked if he had talked to, or planned on talking to, Ellsbury about a long-term deal.
"This isn't the right forum to talk about it. Those conversations are always behind closed doors. But I guess it's not a secret we sat down and tried in the past to do that, lock Jacoby up, and I hope we'll sit down in the future again and try to do it once more at the appropriate time. He's somebody we've long believed in, we've long seen as a core young member of the organization that we would love to keep around. We have certain organizational standards that have to be met, but we worked hard and were able to meet those standards with the Pedroias, with the Youkilis' and the Lesters of the world so we would love to one day announce that Jacoby is going to stick around this organization for a really long time. This is where he should be, and, again, this is where he should be."
The 27-year-old Ellsbury is arbitration-eligible for two more years before he can become a free agent. He avoided arbitration last offseason by signing a one-year, $2.7 million deal.
One of the "organizational standards" Epstein referenced in regard to such deals was the team's insisting that any such agreement, where arbitration and free agent years are bought out, would have to include at least one club option. Ellsbury's agent, Scott Boras, has typically steered his clients away from such contracts.
Some of the players the Red Sox have signed before they became eligible for free agency include Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jon Lester, and, most recently, Clay Buchholz.
For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.
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