Ever since Jacoby Ellsbury signed with agent Scott Boras, we've all known this day was coming: Ells is in his last year before free agency, Boras has stated that he would do better on the open market, and team officials are joining them both in being awfully vague about whether anyone is particularly interested in an extension.
Players who sign on with Scott Boras are looking for a big payout when their turn comes, and Ellsbury is no exception. Sure, Ells is by all accounts a soft spoken, polite young man who plays the game hard and (when he's healthy, which admittedly hasn't been that often) very well, but at the end of the day, he's going to do what Boras tells him.
And because of past experience with Boras clients, we already know what Boras is going to do: he'll delay all talk of a possible extension until after the end of the season, then allow the bidding war to begin. We know that Boras is licking his chops, hoping that Ells will have a 2011 type season, so he can start measuring him for high-priced pinstripes.
Obviously, I hope that I'm wrong about this, but Boras has a well-established pattern. Perhaps I'm full of it, and Ben Cherington will call a press conference tomorrow with Ells, announcing a long contract extension - but I doubt it. The fit isn't right. The Red Sox don't like awarding long expensive deals to players who can't be healthy consistently (JD Drew notwithstanding), and Boras doesn't like to give up the chance for his clients to test the open waters of free agency.
So for my very first prediction of the 2013 season, I'm calling it right now: this is the last year that you'll see Jacoby Ellsbury in a Red Sox uniform. Enjoy the farewell tour and hope it's a good season, everyone, because we won't be seeing Ells in our dugout for much longer.