Mariners rumors: Jacoby Ellsbury a long-term CF solution?

USA TODAY Sports

A homecoming of sorts could be in store for Ellsbury this fall.

The Seattle Mariners appear primed to make a run at Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury in free agency this fall, speculates Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Ellsbury, who hails from the Pacific Northwest -- Madras, Oregon, to be precise -- will hit the open market this offseason after seven years in Boston. Rosenthal admits that the M's interest in the speedy center fielder is all conjecture to this point, but believes that the move makes a lot of sense for the organization.

With all the one-year deals given to veteran players last winter, the Mariners have only $33 million in salary commitments for 2014, leaving plenty of room to sign a big-name free agent. Seattle has struggled to find someone capable of ably manning center field this year, turning to Michael Saunders -- a corner outfielder -- and Dustin Ackley -- a second baseman -- for much of the season.

The Mariners do still have the option of bringing Franklin Gutierrez back next year (for $7.5 million), but his persistent injuries woes combined with his precipitous decline in performance make him a pretty good buyout candidate. Mr. Death to Flying Things has played in just 150 games over the last three seasons combined.

Ellsbury, 29, has dealt with injury issues of his own in the past, but has managed to stay on the field for most of this season, likely upping his price come fall. While he may never again approach his MVP-like numbers from 2011, Ellsbury is still an above-average player at the dish and an elite defender in center. The Scott Boras client is batting .301/.362/.432 with seven home runs in 532 plate appearances on the year.

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