NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington downplayed suggestions that, with free agent outfielder Shane Victorino in the process of finalizing his contract, the team now intends to deal Jacoby Ellsbury. While Cherington restated that the team listens when approached by teams about any of its players, he said that he expects the 29-year-old to be a key contributor to the club in 2013.
"You answer the phone and take the calls and listen to ideas. Our expectation is Jacoby will be here and be our center fielder," said Cherington. "[Dealing Ellsbury] is not our intent. We're expecting Jacoby to have a really good year in 2013 and be a huge part of what we're doing."
As for the level of interest in his center fielder, Cherington said, "I wouldn’t comment specifically. We have a number of guys who are really valued by other teams, so weve been asked about a number of guys. We’re not looking to move guys off our roster. We’re looking to add talent to the roster, not move guys off at this point. We’ll see. You’ve got to listen and learn and have the conversation. We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t at least have the dialogue and gather the information and see what other teams are interested in doing."
As noted here, the Victorino signing gives the Sox more flexibility for a potential deal involving Ellsbury, but a source said that no deal was "imminent." Indeed, given that Ellsbury's value is at something of a low-point given his struggles with injuries (he was limited to just 74 games after missing half the year due to a shoulder subluxation incurred when Reid Brignac fell on him) and production (he hit just .271/.313/.370/.682 with four homers and 14 steals), the Sox may see less value from dealing him than they might from simply keeping him, if he can return to something approximating his performance level in 2012.
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