Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, in an appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show, said that the Red Sox have talked at various points with outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury about the possibility of something other than a one-year deal. However, each time, the team and player elected to agree to a one-year contract that avoided an arbitration hearing but that kept Ellsbury moving on a path towards free agency after the 2013 season. And now, in a season where Ellsbury has shown some recently promising offensive signs (reaching base in six of his last seven plate appearances) but has mostly struggled en route to a .249/.318/.340 line, Cherington suggested that the Sox expect that the team will not engage in contract talks with the 29-year-old until after the season.

“Because Ellsbury has gone through arbitration the last three years, there’s been an opportunity to talk to [agent Scott Boras] and Jacoby each of those years in the winter before spring training or early in spring training about his status. And each of those years we’ve signed a one-year deal and settled his arb case before it went to a hearing.
But during those talks, you talk about a lot of things. You talk about other options, other contract options, other sorts of scenarios,” said Cherington. “We’ve had those conversations. It’s just, in this case, we agreed before the season that we would defer it until the end of the season. That’s our expectation right now. You never say never. Things can change. But our expectation is we pick up the conversation after the season.”

As far as Ellsbury’s struggles, the GM suggested that there is reason to believe that the center fielder is in line for a turnaround.

“It’s a combination of things, and some of this is speculation, but we’ve seen a lot of lefties already early in the year. … He’s been a little bit unlucky on balls in play — hit some balls right at people,” said Cherington. “There’s nothing really alarmingly different in the underlying numbers — the strikeout percentage and the swing-and-miss rate. He’s still compact. He’s still doing a lot of things that he’s always done well. He’s healthy, the bat speed is there, the tools are there — he just looks to me like a guy who’s going to get hot at some point and we’ll stop talking about it. By far, the best outcome for all of us is for Jacoby to feel good, be productive in the leadoff spot. That helps him, helps us win games and I still think that’s going to happen.”