Scott Boras is not a man to leave money on the table. So it should perhaps come as no surprise that the mark on Ellsbury has gone from an eminently reasonable five years and $75 million to a slightly more ambitious nine figures and now onto, per Jon Heyman, entirely ridiculous levels of "well have I told you how much better he is than Carl Crawford?"
Boras, meantime, suggested that not only is Upton not in the ballpark but that even Crawford comes up short as a player, as well. Jayson Werth's $126 million, seven-year deal may help Ellsbury's case, too, but Crawford is the one who seems obvious to mention since he's a speed player like Ellsbury, and more to the point, that was Boston's own deal.
"Two things separate Ellsbury [from Crawford]. Carl Crawford was never proven as a leadoff hitter, and Carl Crawford is not a center fielder,'' Boras said. "They are two different animals. It's not a consideration because he's a corner outfielder. Just think if Carl Crawford could play center field."
Boras goes on at some length about just exactly how Ellsbury isn't Carl Crawford, and it's certainly true that he's not. But it doesn't take an analytical genius to see what Boras is getting at here: that maybe, just maybe, Ellsbury is worth Carl Crawford money or, y'know, a lot more?
To which everyone's immediate reaction should be to abandon ship immediately. Just in case you need a reminder, Carl Crawford is being paid $142 million over seven years in what would serve as the premier cautionary tale for long-term contracts if it weren't for just about everything going on with the Angels right now. While Ellsbury is not Crawford, that certainly doesn't mean teams should be falling over themselves to one-up the unfathomably bad contract the Red Sox gave their former left fielder back before the 2011 season.
Then again, Boras does make a convincing argument:
Boras, in an interview with CBSSports.com, made clear what he thinks of the "mid-range" market strategy and where he thinks Ellsbury stands, saying, "Free agency is like the Navy. You can have a number of mid-range missiles, but they only work as long as you have the aircraft carrier to put them on."
Given that a modern aircraft carrier can cost upwards of $13 billion to produce, any team would be getting a bargain at $150 million for a seven-year rental, right?