Wednesday December 04, 2013 | 06:03 AM

No one was surprised that Jacoby Ellsbury left the Boston Red Sox for a big-money contract. That was been expected for well over a year.

The question has always been: Who was going to pay abundantly for Ellsbury, an exciting player who has had his share of injuries (through no faujlt of his own)?

Who, but the New York Yankees, which reportedly is signing Ellsbury for seven years and $153-million.

The New York Daily News headline was funny: "The Ellbsury Doughboy: Sorry Sox! Yanks grab Jacoby ..."

And as Daily New columnist Mike Lupica put it, the Yankees "don't just pay, they overpay."

So Ellsbury is now a Yankee. This is not like the Johnny Damon situation, when Boston really tried to re-sign the outfielder.

In Ellsbury's case, there was no way the Red Sox were going to come close to New York's offer (didn't Boston rejoice after getting rid of Carl Crawford, who had signed a 7-year, $142-million deal?).

Boston is being thrifty. It worked well enough for the 2013 season. The Red Sox reportedly made a two-year offer to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but he is headed to the Marlins, reportedly for three years and $21-million.

The Red Sox signed veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski for one year and $8.25-million.

I don't see shortstop Stephen Drew staying with Boston. And if someone offers first baseman Mike Napoli three years, he's probably gone, too.

Your potential 2014 Red Sox lineup:

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Shane Victorino RF
David Ortiz DH
A.J. Pierzynski C
Daniel Nava/Jonny Gomes LF
Xander Bogaerts SS
Mike Carp/TBA 1B
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

But it's early in the Hot Stove League. Ben Cherington will add parts. It just won't be with the splash that the Yankees will make. Cherington demonstrated last year that you don't need a big splash for a World Series title.



About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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