When the full weight of Tampa Bay shortstop Reid Brignac toppled onto the right shoulder of Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury last April 13 as he was sliding into second base, it cost Ellsbury more than the 79 games he missed with a partially dislocated shoulder. The injury conservatively cost Ellsbury at least $5 million, the raise he could have expected in salary arbitration had he come close to approximating his career performance when healthy. The Sox center fielder could have reasonably expected millions more had his 2012 performance approached his breakout 2011 season, when he was MVP runner-up. Had Ellsbury remained healthy, he would have compared favorably in arbitration to two outfielders who have had similar service time in the major leagues, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones and San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence. The Orioles last summer signed Jones, who had a breakout 2012 (32 home runs, .334 OBP, .505 SLG, .839 OPS) to a six-year, $85.5 million extension that averages $14.25 million a season. Pence is expected to command between $13 million and $14 million in arbitration from the Giants, after a season in which he hit 24 home runs and posted a .319/.425/.743 line. Jones and Pence, like Ellsbury, have been All-Stars, but neither player has had a season as spectacular as the one Ellsbury had in 2011, when he hit 32 home runs, stole 39 bases and posted a .376/.552/.928 line. But neither has missed the playing time Ellsbury has in two of the last three seasons. Ellsbury played in just 18 games in 2010 after colliding with third baseman Adrian Beltre and fracturing his ribs.
Ellsbury headlines arbitration-eligible Sox
ESPN | Jan 3