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Jacoby Ellsbury’s seven-year, $153 million with the New York Yankees may have stolen the centerfielder from Boston, but it puts the Red Sox in a bind to either sign a free-agent outfielder or just stick with the guys they have and have Jackie Bradley Jr. in center. What are the best options for the Red Sox?
Choo has not been really mentioned in Red Sox conversations, but he would be a great candidate to take over in center or move back to right and have Shane Victorino in center for 2014. The Boston Herald has reported that Choo is now a legitimate candidate that the team is pursuing in free agency.
The 31-year-old really took a step forward with the Cincinnati Reds in 2013 with a .423 OBP and also clubbed 21 home runs. The South Korea native is being looked at by at least eight other teams and could see a deal in the five- or six-year range worth about $100 million. His career .389 OBP is about 40 points higher than Ellsbury’s.
Plus, Choo is a left-handed bat.
Another option has to be the veteran Beltran. Yes, he me be starting to get too old to be an everyday player, but he still got the job done with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013 with 24 homers and 84 RBI in 145 games.
Beltran is looking for a three-year deal, but the Red Sox and Yankees won’t go beyond two years for the 36-year-old. The age may factor in the decision of whether or not the Red Sox will stick with their plan to try and sign Beltran for the long haul.
One last option for the Red Sox is letting Bradley Jr. take over in center, but have Victorino in the leadoff spot until Bradley Jr. can adjust to major league pitching.
In 2013, the 23-year-old did not really do much with three home runs and 10 RBI in 92 at-bats. He hit .180 and only stole two bases in two chances.
This option is the last resort for the Red Sox as Bradley Jr. still needs another year in the minors to get everything right at the plate, then in 2015 he can be that guy they can go to as the leadoff hitter.