Red Sox free agency: Jacoby Ellsbury offered less than $120 million by Boston

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Not that the Red Sox should have offered more, but it's easy to see why Ellsbury bolted.

Jacoby Ellsbury signed with the Yankees on Tuesday for seven years and $153 million with an option for an eighth year. While there are some Red Sox fans grumbling now about how he's a traitor (or, really, a "trader," since it's the internet and competence is optional), that sort of thing would only have a hint of truth to it if the Red Sox had offered Ellsbury a comparable deal for him to villainously cackle at and turn his back on. Possibly by ripping off a Red Sox jersey to reveal pinstripes underneath, just so the message came across clear and digestable to the "trader" folk.

That's not the case, though, as ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes has heard. The Red Sox offered Ellsbury two separate contracts to choose from: one for six years at less than $120 million, and one for five years and $100 million. All Ellsbury left behind were two offers that were nowhere close to what the Yankees offered, which is how we all assumed things would go down for the last two years. Maybe not to the Yankees, exactly, but you knew someone was going to outbid the Red Sox, and that Ellsbury's time with Boston had come to a close. There was a reason so many Red Sox fans wanted to deal him before the 2013 season, you know.

Leaving Ellsbury aside for a moment, though, it's worth pointing out that the Red Sox made offers with average annual values of $20 million and around $20 million, respectively, over a long-term deal. While that sort of contract won't be offered to just anyone, it's something to remember for later, when wondering what kind of resources the Red Sox are willing to invest in someone like Jon Lester in an extension, or maybe, say, Matt Kemp, should their connection to a trade of him become more than just rumor.

It also means there is quite a bit of wiggle room left in place for 2014, if they were setting themselves up to plop $20 million per one one dude. That will be even more true if they end up trading someone like Ryan Dempster or Jake Peavy to make room in the rotation -- that's not a guaranteed occurrence, but it's certainly listed on the Branching Pathways whiteboard that is the Red Sox off-season.

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