The rumored "starting point" for Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury when he hits free agency this fall will be the five-year, $75 million deal that B.J. Upton signed with the Braves last winter, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman told 98.5 The Sports Hub on Tuesday.
Ellsbury, when healthy, has been a much more consistent player than the elder Upton over the last several years, so the emphasis in Heyman's statement should definitely be on the phrase "starting point." That being said, Marc Normandin at Over the Monster points out that Heyman has a "bit of a reputation" for getting info from Scott Boras -- i.e. Ellsbury's agent -- so there's a chance that there is some weight to the figures he stated.
Ellsbury, 29, has not shown any sign of the power stroke that earned him runner-up in the 2011 AL MVP voting since returning from last year's serious shoulder injury, but he's still been a very productive player for the Red Sox. There's been some talk that Boston will be priced out of the Ellsbury sweepstakes this winter, but Sports Illustrated's Joe Sheehan -- also speaking to The Sports Hub -- believes the Sox will be a major player for his services.
The speedy center fielder is batting .296/.353/.420 with seven big flies, eight triples and a league-leading 47 stolen bases through 123 games this season. He also brings elite defense to the table, which is a nice plus.