Free-agent outfielder being courted by several MLB clubs

Boston Red Sox officials have said that re-signing outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is a "long shot."

That was the quote given to Boston Globe reporters following an owner's meeting Nov. 13, giving more fuel to the fire that

Ellsbury is going to land ann land an enormous contract outside of Bean Town. There's no question what kind of skills the former Oregon State University and Madras High School star athlete has.

The question is how much will his agent, Scott Boras, want to strangle out of a team that wants Ellsbury to roam center field.

Speculation has taken Ellsbury's potential contract value into the stratosphere, with some national baseball writers saying he'll get a multiyear deal worth anywhere between $120 million to $140 million.

With his injury history, some might find those numbers absurd and preposterous. Also, why in the world would a team spend that much money on a position player? Boras' answer to that question for teams will simply be "Because he's the best."

And when he's healthy, that's not very far from the truth. Both offensively and defensively, Ellsbury can give teams some of the best play any centerfielder in the Majors can.

What could scare teams away, however, is the price Boras is asking.

The Detroit Tigers have been linked to potentially wanting to sign Ellsbury, but from a numbers standpoint, they are getting almost the same amount of offensive production from Austin Jackson for a fraction of what it could cost to ink Ellsbury.

For that reason, the Tigers might not be serious contenders in the Ellsbury sweepstakes, but stranger things have happened.

The only other big free-agent outfielder on the market right now is Shin-Soo Choo, someone that at least Texas is more interested in than Ellsbury, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

The expectation is that a deal for Ellsbury, no matter what team he goes to, will take a long time to develop.

A player like him (somewhat injury-prone) could potentially have a contract laced with playing time incentives and roster bonuses, which typically hold up negotiations and drag them out.

Haggling over every last cent is what Boras is going to do with Ellsbury's deal because, well, that's his job.

It just means the contract talks and speculation are going to drag on all winter, and we probably won't see Ellsbury in a new uniform for the rest of 2012.

Accoring to Heyman, six teams are actively pursuing Ellsbury, with one of them being the Seattle Mariners.

It was said earlier that the Mariners had no interest in Ellsbury, but conventional baseball fans know that’s just a bluff and is part of the gamesmanship that goes on throughout the offseason.

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