Speier piece about how the Sox still have an ungodly amount of money to spend: http://www.weei.com/...oom-spend-big-a
In short, he's estimating $40M this year and $50M next year to spend but still be under the luxury limit. With that in mind, I think keeping him is the right poker move.
That leaves three (and a half) possible outcomes:
1. A Qualifying Offer and a supplemental draft pick when he splits (the half-possibility being that he sucks or gets hurt again next year and accepts the QA as a make-good year. Not likely, though not impossible).
2. A deal at the deadline because Sox are sellers and Ellsbury is hot -- the dream scenario being Beltran-to-Giants redux and a return of a Zack Wheeler (who is apparently a top-10 MLB prospect and one would assume has ace potential). (I understand that there's no draft compensation for a rental anymore, but the Giants agreed at the time of that trade not to offer arb to Beltran -- and thus agreed to a no-compensation rental. They perhaps hoped to re-sign and beyond that were loaded with young pitching. So that'd be the ideal for an Ells deadline deal.)
3. An idea that most seem to have abandoned: Ellsbury puts up another 2011 and JBJ plateaus and the Sox decide at age 30 he's worth winning the FA bidding on -- say 6/120M.
Of course I agree with the general viewpoints of the dangers of 6/120 types of contracts. But are they never wise? Manny was a rare talent, Adrian Beltre got in essence 6 years at 16M per, and he'd look good in a Sox uni. Miguel Cabrera is worth his money. I'd certainly rather drop $15M-$20M per on a young CF than a pitcher.
Just saying Speier's numbers make it clear we've got boatloads left to spend -- and with all the Barnes, Websters, Rubbys, Xanders etc on the way they're not gonna feel a pinch anytime soon.
With all the speculation that the Sox will get a RF and shift Victorino to center, it may be equally telling if they get anywhere near $20M to the luxury limit with pitcher buys. For example if they make waves with, say, a Dempster AND Anibal spree and add upwards of $25M, then clearly they're already mapping Jacoby's exit.
Edited by LeoCarrillo, 05 December 2012 - 11:05 AM.