Ellsbury's breakout year nets big payday
By Ian Browne / MLB.com | 01/17/12 9:30 PM EST
BOSTON -- A monster 2011 season has landed Jacoby Ellsbury a sizable raise. The Red Sox avoided salary arbitration with their star center fielder by signing him to a one-year contract worth $8.05 million.
That is a nice bump for Ellsbury, who earned $2.4 million last year.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said that a multiyear deal was not discussed with Ellsbury. The Red Sox control Ellsbury's contractual rights for the 2013 season as well. After that, he can become a free agent unless the sides agree to a long-term deal.
On Tuesday's deadline day for exchanging arbitration figures with the players who are eligible, the Red Sox could not reach an agreement with star slugger David Ortiz, so the sides went ahead and exchanged figures.
Ortiz is asking for $16.5 million, while the Red Sox have countered at $12.65 million. The sides still have time to make a deal, as arbitration hearings don't begin until February.
Big Papi was a free agent but took himself off the market when he accepted Boston's offer of arbitration in December.
The Sox also exchanged figures with Daniel Bard, Andrew Bailey and Alfredo Aceves, three players who figure to be key to the 2012 pitching staff.
Bard, who is making the transition from setup man to starter, submitted a request for $1.825 million. Boston's figure is $1.4 million.
Bailey was acquired in a trade with the Oakland Athletics and is expected to take over for Jonathan Papelbon at closer. The righty submitted a request for $4.7 million while the Red Sox came in at $3.35 million.
Aceves, who proved invaluable as a swing man for the Sox last season, submitted an arbitration figure of $1.6 million. Boston's figure is $950,000.
Aside from the deal with Ellsbury, Boston also reached agreement with utility infielder/outfielder Mike Aviles on a one-year deal worth $1.2 million.
Aviles fit in nicely after being acquired from the Royals on July 30. In 38 games with Boston, Aviles hit .317.
Ellsbury was limited to just 18 games in 2010. But last season, he not only proved his durability, but also his dominance.
Even Ellsbury's staunchest backers could not have predicted he would finish second in the race for the American League Most Valuable Player Award. But that's exactly what happened following a season in which he hit .321 and set career highs in doubles (46), homers (32), runs (119), RBIs (105) and walks (52).
Recently, the Sox signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ryan Sweeney and Franklin Morales to one-year deals, successfully avoiding arbitration with those players.