The ladies love him, but how much longer will Ells be strutting his stuff in center field? This is his final year under contract with the Sox and plenty of other teams would love to have him. The Sox would likely offer him a pay cut, something a Scott Boras client is not inclined to do (Varitek is the one exception). This would have fans worried if it weren’t for touted prospect Jackie Bradley Jr.
Bradley has been playing like Jackie Robinson in spring training. His numbers are off the charts, but the batting average really stands out at .517. Manager John Farrell has said anything is possible for Bradley Jr. this season, but he would benefit most from playing every day in Pawtucket. It remains to be see what happens this year. But having Bradley Jr. suddenly makes Ellsbury expendable. In the past the Sox considered Ellsbury untouchable, nixing trades once his name came up. That no longer seems like the case.
No one should expect Ellsbury back next season; he’s made it clear that his concentration is on 2013 not beyond that. That’s typical of a soon to be free agent looking to test the market. But while most teams would fret about losing their stud center fielder, most teams don’t have a stud in waiting like Bradley Jr.