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Source: Trade involving Jacoby Ellsbury not imminent

12.04.12 at 9:40 pm ET

The Red Sox have increased roster flexibility to make a potential trade involving Jacoby Ellsbury, with Shane Victorino now a potential center field option and other outfielders (Nick Swisher, Cody Ross, Josh Hamilton, etc.) still available via free agency. However, a major league source said that no trade involving Ellsbury is imminent. Indeed, the source suggested that a deal involving Ellsbury this offseason isn’t inevitable.

At this point, the trade market for Ellsbury (and, more broadly, for outfielders) has yet to take shape in a fashion that would address the Sox’ major league needs, chiefly, big league quality starting pitching. The only trade to date involving a stating outfielder was the Twins sending Denard Span to the Nats for a high-ceiling Single-A right-hander in Alex Meyer.

The Sox would still be selling low on Ellsbury if they were to trade him now, coming off a season when he missed considerable time due to injury and performed poorly when on the field. He’s also now entering his final year before free agency (in contrast to Span, who was under team control on a very appealing multiyear deal).

Still, a team that fails to land a top offseason target could become interested in Ellsbury, perhaps to the point of offering a sufficient return to convince the Sox to deal him. However, while the team has increased flexibility to deal Ellsbury, that’s far from a guarantee that it will do so. Boston may still get its greatest value from Ellsbury by retaining him and hoping for a year more like 2011 than 2012.

Read More: Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino,
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