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Cafardo: Red Sox Trying To Trade Jacoby Ellsbury, Sign Cody Ross

Until every other team has a set outfield, Ellsbury rumors are likely to persist


The Red Sox haven't had any luck with this strategy yet, but an American League general manager tells the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo that Boston "may be trying to deal Jacoby Ellsbury and then sign [Cody] Ross after they move [Shane] Victorino to center." This is the kind of thought that sprung up almost immediately after the signing of Victorino, but with Ross still unsigned, and the outfield market in a weird place after the Angels stole Josh Hamilton away, it's intriguing all over again.

Ross has been connected to not only the Red Sox, but the Orioles, Yankees, Phillies, Braves, and Mets. The Phillies could still use an outfielder, and are also looking to trade for Vernon Wells, presumably with the Angels picking up most of the tab. The Orioles didn't land Josh Hamilton, and remain a threat to get Ross, depending on how desperate they are to get Nolan Reimold out of their outfield. The Yankees signed Ichiro Suzuki to a two-year deal, likely ending the pursuit of Ross. The Braves could use Ross in left, pushing Martin Prado back to third base to replace the departed Chipper Jones, but he might not be the best fit given the mean things Turner Field does to right-handed power. The Mets acquired Collin Cowgill on Tuesday, and since his thing is an ability to hold his own at three outfield positions while hitting lefties, Ross would be both expensive and superfluous for a team looking to avoid just that kind of thing.

The key is going to be finding a market for Ellsbury. The Red Sox can afford Ross on a two-year deal if it comes to it, and since none of the other suitors are stepping up to give him that third season at the pay rate he wants, it's likely two years is what he's going to have to settle for. Two years might not be optimal with Jackie Bradley likely ready for the majors in 2014, but Ross would at least serve as insurance against that, and could either be traded or shifted to left when the time comes.

It's all moot unless Ellsbury is dealt, of course. There's the possibility he's packaged somewhere that needs outfield help, another catcher, a reliever or two, and maybe a B-prospect to sweeten the return, but there are no guarantees that or any combination comprised of parts of that goes down in the coming weeks. If it's going to happen, it's likely to be soon, before the market for outfielders dries up completely.

You can safely say it won't happen with the Dodgers, though. They're reportedly looking to move Andre Ethier, but when Cafardo asked a Dodgers' official if an Ellsbury-for-Ethier trade were possible, he received a brief, "No." That should work for you, given Ethier isn't a great defender, is under contract for five years at $17 million per season, and is so bad against lefties that he realistically needs a platoon partner. Being buddies with Dustin Pedroia is only worth so much, you know.