No way Ellsbury takes the qualifying offer from the Red Sox. He will get a better offer for mult-years, and he will take it. It will likely come from an NL team.
The Yankees have Gardner and Granderson. Unless he has a serious injury, they will pick up Granderson's option and they will retain Gardner for another year. Both won't cost more than about 15 million, combined. No chance the Yankees trump the offers that will come from NL teams and, perhaps, the Rangers.
His age and potential will create a multi-year option, even if he puts up marginal numbers in his final seaon with the Red Sox.
The correct move is to try and trade to the NL teams who will offer more than the draft compesnation. In fact, they should be trying to do that, now.
The Red Sox should not worry about the fragile state of Victorino, when decided whether or not to trade Ellsbury. They should take a long look at Brentz and go ahead and give the CF job to Bradley, Jr. Bradley, Jr. will take time to adjust to major league pitching (he will end up a solid OBP guy without more than occassional power to the pull side, but his defensive talents and leadership ability should be enough reason to invest the time in him this season.
There is nothing impressive aobut this Red Sox OF, offensively or defensively. Time invested in Bradley and Brentz isn't going to impede the ability of Manager John to move this team to it's maximum potential for this season.
I would get on with it sooner than later, because if Bradley and Brentz are able to at least show inconsistent flashes of solid play, that means they can also look for a team with a starting OF'er injury to take on a large part of Victorino's freight going forward. If either one of the two rookies are overwhelmed, they can hang on to Shane for a little while longer.
In reality, platooning Shane with Nava gets Shane's playing time down to a level where he and his old body will likely be more productive. I think Gomes will be more effective if he plays more, and I see no merit to doing anything to mitigate the mistaken 2 year deal he was given.
My confidence in Manager John is strong. Moving players like Ellsbury and S. Drew isn't earth shattering at all, and I think getting rid of those two will bring an even better team because of the value of knowing that they are part of the team's future with this manager for years to come.
I like the flexiblity of using Nava and Gomes and Shane as pinch hitters more often, when the don't start, as opposed to this everyday starter routine with Ellsbury and S. Drew. I like the better defensive CF and SS, and I like the stability that will come from moving on from the past to players who are vested in this organization for years to come.
I think the sooner they move Ellsbury and S. Drew, the better, long before the AS break.
If the team gets to the All-star break and looks like I likely playoff team, they can then retain Shane, Napoli, Dempster and Salty. If they look like they won't make it, they should go ahead and sell those 4, as well.
I think minus Ellsbury and S. Drew, they have a decent shot to make the playoffs with Shane and Npoli and Dempster and Salty still on the roster. They then can make a move to add a veteran starter who is a true few months salary dump as well as a pen arm to make a push to secure a playoff spot and win some playoff games.
I think unloading Ellsbury and S. Drew makes the roster more flexible for addition from the farm and outside.
Neither Ellsbury or S. Drew are hitting, .750 OPS and lower, so it's quite clear that both of them and their prorated 20M costs for the top and bottom lineup hitters are totally expendable.
S. Drew BA .231 OBP .333 SLG .398 OPS .731 3HR
Ellsbury BA .241 OBP .303 SLG .335 OPS .638 1HR
Both of these guys are expendable, and Ellsbury will be attractive enough to net more than the draft compensation, even at his current levels.
S. Drew's contract runs out in months, so a team with an injury at SS or 2B will have interest in taking on a large portion of his contract if he passes their physical tests.
I do not like the idea of putting anymore time in these two guys, who are really in mercenary status with no real future with the Red Sox.
Ehhhhhh.........I got bored at "No"......