Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury is off to a poor start but remains one of the more interesting potential free agents.

Cubs President Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer know Ellsbury well from their days in Boston and are aware of what he brings to the clubhouse. If Ellsbury can return to his old form this season, the Cubs are expected to make a strong push to sign him.

"Ellsbury has done it year in and year out," Anthony Rizzo said. "To add someone like him, or someone who can hit 40 home runs also, would be great to have too. No one is going to complain about that. But you can't ignore the big picture. Our team now is what we have, and we're all happy with who's here and playing."

The players know which free agents are out there for the Cubs' brass to consider.

"Of course guys always talk and play GM," Rizzo said. "That's everywhere. But now especially you can't count on any free agents being on the market because teams want to lock them up, because there is really no one available.

"Guys going into their free agent years are at such a premium because there's so much demand. I have no idea if Ellsbury is going to hit the market. But I'm sure that if he does, he's such a great player, a premium player, that he'll have a lot of teams after him."