Whoa, there big guy. Don't go taking all of this personally. I specifically didn't quote any of your posts because I respect your opinion and your take on this topic. My post was directed to other posters to remind them that there are opinions that differ from yours, and the reasons for that difference.
I guess I did take it too personally, but as far as I know, I am the only one who has countered the "Ellsbury's injuries are a fluke" argument with the fact that he didn't call off Beltre and that that injury was avoidable and not a "fluke". Youe ended your post with something that seemed pinpointed to my comment right before your post:
This is a guy who makes the offense go, and some people want to pay him less than the market value because, "he doesn't call other people off".
I'm not going to change my mind, and neither are you. I'm good with that.
I'm fine with us having differing opinions. paying Ellsbury huge money is not an easy decision.
Nobody but softy thinks this team will be better without Ellsbury leading off.
I certainly want Ellsbury back, but I always look at any signing within the big picture. I'm not implying you don't, but I always operate under the assumption that when you spen huge somewhere, you sacrifice elsewhere. There is not doubt that signing Ellsbury to $90M+/5 or $105m+/6 is going to mean we have to let some of our current players go that we could have kept, and/or not upgrade at several need areas over the next 5-6 years.
When deciding on paying big for Ellsbury, the equation is really more like this:
Ellsbury in CF for 5-6 years at a high cost
Victorino and JBJ in CF
$90M++ spent on a RF'er and 1 or two of other needy areas, such as a C (Salty?), 1B, and RP'ers plus a draft pick.
Viewed in this light, it certainly is not a no brainer to pay huge for Ellsbury.
When you look to make a big decision like this, of course you look at all the plusses and minuses of the player himself, and then view the alternative options you have within your own system or the possible costs of going outside the system to replace that player.
A) The value of Ellsbury:
OBP for a leadoff hitter: Good, maybe very good, but not great.
SLG for a leadoff hitter: not a big necessity, but when we saw it in 2011, we recognized the value of having a number one hitter come up late in a game and be able to crank one from the 1 slot. Ellsbury is not a great SLG% guy at all.
Defense: He is anywhere from the 3rd or 4th best CF'er in MLB to maybe the 7th or 8th best. That makes him a top 10% CF'er to about a top 25% CF'er. I guess one could think he is "great" on defense, and I wouldn't argue with "close to great", but I do not view him as "great", when he has a huge weakness with his arm.
Baserunning: Great. I won't get into the running into outs not associated with SBs as softy used to harp on, because I think jacoby has greatly improved on his running instincts. He is a great baserunner and causes issues with pitchers when the following batters are up (not just Victorino). This is a huge plus that is often minimized by the likes of softy, who then pounced on VTek and Salty for not throwing runners out, as if SBs suddenly became a big issue when the opps do it.
1 great (running), 1 close to great (defense), 1 good to very good (OBP), 1 so-so (SLG). I don't see this as a massive longterm contract choice worth offering. I'm OK with others thinking differently.
B) The alternatives: one must look first at within the system. Let's assume we do not sign another OF'er and go with something like this instead:
LF: Nava vs RHPs/Gomes vs LHPs and some RHPs (Carp at times)
CF: JBJ most of the time
RF: Vict most of the time, but CF sometime/Nava when Vict is in CF (Gomes/Carp emergency) or possibly Brentz at some point later in 2014.
The trade off is Ellsbury vs JBJ and more playing time for Nava (possibly vs LHPs: not good), Gomes (possibly vs RHPs: not great), or Carp (possibly in RF: ughh!), or Brentz (a huge question mark).
Nobody knows for sure what JBJ will do for us beyond being a plus defensive CF'er. It's hard to quantify the value differential, and therein lies the problem with evaluating any alternative plans. I'm not saying you are one, but I do feel some posters think, "I know what Ellsbury brings to the table: I don't know what JBJ will do, and he might stink, so we need to sign Ellsbury to avoid a possible huge downgrade in CF". This is certainly a valid opinion, but one should gauge what the value differential is likely to be, not the worst differential it might be. If JBJ struggles, we can always move Victorino over to CF and give more playing time to Nava, Gomes, Carp and maybe even Brentz, or we could pick up a Posodnick type of guy. Now what is the differential? Still large, but not huge.
Then, you have to look at what can the "Ellsbury money" be spent on elsewhere, and are those upgrade differentials larger than the downgrade differential from Ellsbury to the others. The contract Ellsbury will command can buy a lot of upgrades, and/or help us keep Napoli and Salty instead of maybe just one.
Then, you have to place a value on the comp picked gained when Ellsbury walks.
Add it all up, subtract it all up and see what is the best for the team as a whole.
C) The alternatives from outside the system: I'll bring up one possible . Please do not take this as a position I am for or against. I am meerly bringing up a possible alternative plan to signing Ellsbury and not going with JBJ in CF 2014.
Sign a bridge player like Beltran for significantly less than Ellsbury and for 2-3 years less time. Move Victorino to CF and give JBJ time to mature into a MLB ready CF'er, at whcih time one could move Beltran to LF or trade him. Use the savings to keep Salty (assuming that on the Ellsbury plan we kept Napoli and ditched Salty). On both plans, we can assume we keep Napoli. Now, the comparative looks like this:
CF: Ellsbury, RF: Victorino, C: Lava/Ross/Vazquez
CF: Victorino, RF: Beltran, C Salty, plus a comp draft pick in 2014
Same financial cost.
Plus: A much better catcher. No longterm commitment to Beltran. A draft pick gained.
Minus: A drop off from Ellsbury to Beltran.
Other choices might be Choo, Pence, DeJesus, or upgrades to the pen and IF, instead of getting a RF'er.
I do not mean to focus on the negatives of Ellsbury. The "not calling off other players" point was not meant as a major reason not to re-sign Ellsbury. The first time I brought it up was after the pro-sign Ellsbury camp kept bringing up that his injuries were "flukes" or "Theo's fault not Ellsbury's". In my strong opinion, one of his injuries was a direct result of his negligence or recklessness, and since that time, I have not observed an improvement in that particular behavior. Does it mean he will get hurt again as a result of not ever calling off other charging players? Probably not, but I do think the risk is heightened with him vs most other CF'ers.
I don't agree with softy's view that the Ellsbury profile player type declines in his early 30's. There are plenty of examples of his type of player doing well into their mid and late 30's, but one can expect a slight decline after a couple years.
It's not an easy call, but it will be the call that sets into motion what happens and doesn't happen at other positions on this team.
There's a chance the luxury tax limit will be passed this winter, and we may sign Ellsbury, Napoli, Salty, and a RP or two. We then reset the cap after 2014 when lackey gets minimum wage and a few other players drop off the books, and hopefull the kids take their places with no decline in production value.