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Theo Epstein: Red Sox would like to lock up Jacoby Ellsbury with a long-term deal

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  July 21, 2011 01:18 PM

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Theo Epstein did an interview on WEEI this morning. There were three notable answers.

On signing Jacoby Ellsbury long term: "Yeah, I think with all of our young players that we see as core members of our organization that is something we are interested in. We certainly see Jacoby as that. This certainly isnít the right forum to talk about it as conversations are always between closed doors, but it is not a secret that we have sat down and tried in the past and tried to lock Jacoby up in the past, and we will sit down in the future and try and do it again at the appropriate time. He is somebody that we have believed in as a core, young member in the organization that we look to keep around.

We have certain organizational standards that have to be met, and we have worked hard to keep those standards with Pedroia and Youkilis and Lesters of the world, so weíd love to one day announce that Jacoby will be with this organization for a long time and this is where he should be and we see him as a core guy."

Translation: The Red Sox would need to buy back at least one year of free agency and have an option for another to make a deal with Ellsbury. Basically a contract for 2012, '13 and '14 (his first free agent year) with an team option for '15 and maybe '16, too.

Given that Ellsbury is represented by Scott Boras, good luck with that.

On Josh Reddick: "You canít deny what Josh Reddick is doing and you canít deny that heís a different player than heís been. Josh Reddick has always had a world of talent. From the day we drafted him, the ball jumped off his bat as well as just about any player in our system. Always really athletic, always a really good outfielder, always a playmaker in the outfield, always a pretty dynamic baserunner. It was simply of question of Josh ó and it always has been ó improving his plate discipline. His swing mechanics, going up there with a plan, working the count, putting himself in a position where he could let that explosiveness of his bat play and let his natural instincts play out there in the batters box.

"Weíve probably talked to Josh about it thousands of times over the years and it looks like a light has gone on for him. Heís a different guy and a really exciting piece, not for just this year but also the future. Tito makes out the lineup and Iím sure heís going to have decisions to make on a nightly basis. I donít want to speak for him, certainly Josh is someone who has helped us win games and you want to put him in a position to continue to do that."

On who plays right field, Reddick or J.D. Drew: "I donít think you have to cast your lot on one player and completely bury another. As I said, Titoís job is to put the best team on the field on a given night to help us win. When you have one player performing so well, or so hot, maybe demonstrating that a light has gone on for him and another player who has struggled all year itís something you have to really massage as a manager.

"But weíve always been an organization that has given the best players a chance to impact the game for our team on that given night. I know thereís been a lot of discussion on these airways, ĎDo this 100 percent. The other guy plays zero percent.í Thatís probably not how itís going to be, but of course the players who are playing the best at the time get the chance to win a game for the Boston Red Sox."

Translation: Starting in right field, for now anyway, Josh Reddick.

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