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Terry Francona: Jacoby Ellsbury to Start in Left Field

The Providence Journal's Joe McDonald is reporting that Jacoby Ellsbury has told he will be patrolling left field in Fenway next year.

According to McDonald, Theo Epstein and Terry Francona made the decision over the last couple weeks to station the speedster in left, leaving newly acquired Mike Cameron to patrol center.

Ellsbury was disappointed by the move, and had to be reassured by Francona that the move was not a demotion. Francona likened Ellsbury to Tampa Bay outfielder Carl Crawford.

The move makes a lot of sense. While Jacoby has been considered a defensive whiz by many, advanced metrics and closer observation shows that he has issues making reads in center field, hurting his range. In a short sample size in left, Ellsbury has proven much more impressive. Mike Cameron has been a good center fielder for many years. While there was some speculation that the Sox would leave Ellsbury in center to develop for the future, the Red Sox prioritized next year's defense instead.

Combined with the plus defense of J.D. Drew in right field, the Red Sox should have one of the strongest defensive outfields in the major leagues next year.