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Jacoby Ellsbury on Elvis Andrus, Scott Boras and extensions

04.04.13 at 8:53 am ET
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NEW YORK — When Jacoby Ellsbury decided to hire Scott Boras as his agent, a conclusion about his future seemed obvious. The center fielder would never sign an extension with the Red Sox; his free agency was viewed as an inevitability.

That outlook may yet be borne out. Ellsbury is now two games into what may well be his final campaign with the Red Sox. There’s been no evidence of negotiations between the team and Ellsbury or Boras on a long-term deal to keep the 2005 first-round pick in Boston.

But to characterize that as a byproduct of the fact that Boras is Ellsbury’s agent seems an oversimplification.

In that vein, it was hard to overlook the comments by Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus, a Boras client who just signed an eight-year, $120 million extension with opt-outs after the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Andrus made clear that Boras works for his players, rather than being some all-powerful force who dictates the lives of his clients.

‘€œWe’€™re the boss,’€ Andrus said. ‘€œI know everybody thinks that way about Scott, but it’€™s different when you are the one in that position. He works for us.’€

Andrus is not alone. Jason Varitek, for instance, signed a deal with the Sox while he was still arbitration eligible, giving up one of his potential free agent years by signing a three-year contract after the 2001 campaign. Carlos Gonzalez signed a seven-year, $80 million deal with the Rockies after two years in the big leagues. Jered Weaver passed on a potentially monumental free agent payday in order to sign a five-year, $85 million deal with the Angels.

All of those players were Boras clients. All passed on free agency to remain with their teams, making it clear to their agent where they wanted to play.

Ellsbury says that he has the same choice. His choice of agent does not foreclose the possibility of staying in Boston, or even searching for middle ground on a long-term deal before he reaches free agency.

“You have examples like CarGo, Weaver, Andrus, Varitek — there’s a ton of examples of guys that have signed before [free agency],” said Ellsbury. “[Boras] gives you advice, but it’s up to you to make your own decision.”

In the case of Andrus, Ellsbury expressed enthusiasm for the fact that the 24-year-old gleaned a tremendous contract that will allow him to continue playing in a place that he enjoys. And, of course, it can’t hurt Ellsbury’s free agent outlook to see an up-the-middle player like Andrus — a career .275 hitter with a .343 OBP and .354 slugging mark who has averaged four homers and 31 steals per season in his four big league seasons, who combines on-base skills, speed and excellent defense — getting a nine-figure contract.

“I’m definitely happy for Elvis. I know him a little bit, had an opportunity to spend a little bit of time with him this offseason. It’s got to be an exciting time for him,” said Ellsbury. “He’s a good kid. He works hard. Obviously, he plays a premium position and plays it really well. You can only be happy for someone like that.”

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