The Boston Red Sox today optioned centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury to the minor leagues. Ellsbury went six for 16, leaving his first major league stint at a .375/.444/.438 line, stealing one base and overall showing just why he is so highly-regarded. There has been lots of talk by Firebranders as to just who Ellsbury compares to: Johnny Damon, Juan Pierre, Scott Podsednik are some of the names bandied about. I believe he compares to … Jacoby Ellsbury. He’s got the speed of Pierre, the defense of Jim Edmonds, the power of Carl Crawford, and the batting average of Kenny Lofton.
Taking his place is 28-year old first baseman Jeff Bailey, who has been with the Red Sox since 2004, signing out of the Montreal Expos system, and he originally came up with the Florida Marlins. He has good character makeup, and is hitting .250/.358/.429 in Triple-A, but .301/.400/.493 against left-handers. With Kevin Youkilis resting his sore left quad, the chances are high Bailey will debut tonight against lefthander Andrew Miller. Eric Hinske should draw the start against Jeremy Bonderman Saturday, and the jury is out Sunday; either Bailey or Youkilis against Nate Robertson, a lefty.
Look, part of me is happy Bailey was promoted to the major leagues. He’s 28-years old, he was a converted catcher, he’s been by all accounts a fantastic leader in the minors … but why? This is the same question I also ask of the Jacoby Ellsbury and David Murphy promotions. These promotions were not long-term — they were for only a matter of days. What was so important about calling up Murphy, Ellsbury and Bailey? Why can’t Hinske start today? Why couldn’t Wily Mo have started in centerfield for two days? Were the aspects of Wily Mo and Hinske starting one extra game more than needed so horrifying they needed replacements from Triple-A? If so, what in the world are Wily Mo and Hinske doing holding a bench spot? They are there for injury replacements and breathers for starters. How can they be expected to be consistent and do their job if they’re constantly bypassed for people in Triple-A? Instead of Murphy, Ellsbury and Bailey, why not Devern Hansack or Craig Breslow? I don’t understand.
The poll results for Jacoby Ellsbury:

Should Jacoby Ellsbury have been called up? * Yes! He needs a taste of the majors to know what he has to do to succeed.
50% of all votes
* Yes, he was our best option with Crisp out!
27% of all votes
* No, Wily Mo Pena could have used the ABs! We need offense, why sit Wily Mo?
18% of all votes
* No, he just wasn’t ready!
6% of all votes

I do to an extent agree with the 50 percent majority – Ellsbury needed a taste of the majors to know what he has to do to succeed … but at the expense of Wily Mo and Craig Breslow? I don’t know.

According to a local sports radio station in Detroit (WDFN), the Red Sox are discussing a three-year extension with third-baseman Mike Lowell, and a one-year extension with Matt Clement. Count me in favor for the Clement deal. This is common among pitchers coming off long injuries: they feel sort of an obligation to the team to give them value, as they feel guilty for the length of time they missed. In addition, the team that the pitcher suffered the injury on is always more willing to bring the pitcher back to try to get a return on their investment. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a one-year deal with a small base salary and high incentives announced. Clement could serve as a starter or reliever next year, when it’s expected that Curt Schilling will leave.As for Lowell, it’s hard to not want to see Lowell extend his stay in a Red Sox uniform. However, I have to question the length. I would be far more comfortable with a two-year deal with an option for a third.

Oh, and sign this guy up for the Red Sox!