Red Sox can shrug off Ellsbury's departure

Red Sox can shrug off Ellsbury's departure
December 6, 2013, 9:15 am
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In Boston, they’re not wringing their hands, gnashing their teeth and moaning to the heavens about Jacoby Ellsbury’s departure for the Yankees. Even without the free-agent center fielder, they figure, the world champion Red Sox are just fine.

John Tomase, writing in the Boston Herald, put it this way: “The Red Sox were better than the Yankees before winning their third World Series in the last decade. They remained better two days ago. And they’re superior today. Not even a player as talented as Ellsbury switching sides can change that.

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“The days of the Red Sox bemoaning the loss of their stars to New York are over. … The Red Sox have spent the better part of 10 years building an organization that can sustain success, and not desperately grab at branches while dangling from a cliff.”

The Red Sox already have Ellsbury’s replacement, Jackie Bradley Jr., for whom big things are predicted. Plus, it appears the Yankees have overpaid for Ellsbury with a seven-year, $153 million deal.  He’s fast, a capable hitter and a fine defender, but not a consistent power hitter. And he’ll be 37 by the end of that contract.

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From the Boston viewpoint, this move looks like the Yankees are waving “money at free agents like the homeliest guy in the strip club.” Yes, Ellsbury makes them a better team, but they still have lots of other spots to worry about — starting pitching, first base (injured, declining Mark Teixeira), shortstop (Derek Jeter coming back from injury at an advanced age) and second base (will free agent Robinson Cano return?) among them.

So in Boston, Red Sox fans feel they can sit back this offseason and look on with bemusement at their biggest rivals.