BOSTON, MA: Jacoby Ellsbury #2 of the Boston Red Sox watches the ball after hitting the go-ahead RBI single in the 8th inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the game at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
According to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo -- who, by the way, seems to have the inside track on each and every one of these -- Jon Lester and Jacoby Ellsbury are the latest Red Sox to be placed on August waivers. As per usual, that doesn't mean they are going to be either let go or traded. With Lester, Boston might be trying to gauge interest, just to see if, even with his struggles, he is claimed quickly or not. As for Ellsbury, it's very likely he'll be claimed, but maybe finding out who would put a claim in is worth something to Boston, given one of this off-season's questions is in regards to whether or not Ellsbury should be dealt before he's in the last year of his initial six with the Sox.
Unlike Josh Beckett, who is as close to guaranteed to clear waivers you can get, Lester might sneak through for a bit, but end up claimed by someone hopeful the Sox are disenchanted enough with him and their season to talk trade. The same goes for Ellsbury, who hasn't been himself at the plate in 2012, but just might end up traded in a matter of months anyway.
Holding on to Ellsbury isn't the same under the new collective bargaining agreement as it would have been this time last year. The Red Sox, should they keep him until his deal runs out, would only receive a compensation pick if he left after offering him a qualifying offer, likely in the $13.4 million range. (That figure is based on the average salary of the top 125 paid players in the game, so it's subject to change.) Notice that's compensation pick, and not picks, as teams now only get the one pick when they lose a free agent. If Boston were to deal Ellsbury during the 2013 season, rather than in the winter, his new club would not be eligible to receive compensation, likely lowering his price at the deadline from where it would have been in months prior.
Boston doesn't have to trade him, of course. If he doesn't show something with the bat soon, there's a chance either his trade or contract value will slide somewhat, and if he does recover, Boston could always enjoy his services in 2013 then take the pick, assuming they have no plans to attempt to re-sign him. That, of course, is a possibility as well.