The Boston Red Sox came to terms with outfielder Jacoby Elisbury and closer Jonathan Papelbon, avoiding salary arbitration.
Papelbon will earn $12 million, while Ellsbury will bank $2.4 million (plus incentives) for the 2011 season. Both deals are for one year.
Papelbon, who is in his third year of arbitration eligibility and will become a free agent after next season, earned $9.35 million last season. Since the deal was announced it has been reported by Sports Illustrated that the Sox looked into trading the closer, with the Athletics and White Sox being a possible destination.
With hard throwing Daniel Bard ready to take up the closers spot, and the newly signed Bobby Jenks an option, trading Papelbon, who struggled last year, would seem to be a good option. Had a deal been made, SI reports that the Red Sox would have targeted Rafael Soriano, who just signed with the New York Yankees
Ellsbury, in his first year of arbitration eligibility, missed the majority of the 2010 season with three separate rib injuries. He was paid $497,000 last season. While away, bad blood seem to surface between Elisbury and the team. If local sports radio is any indication, he has also fallen out of favor with the nation.
With the deals done, Epstein keeps his record in tact of never having an arbitration hearing during his tenure in Boston.