Red Sox notebook: Team not leaning toward dealing Ellsbury

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Red Sox notebook: Team not leaning toward dealing Ellsbury

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- If they so chose, the Red Sox could have one of the most in-demand players on the winter trade market by shopping outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
For now, they seem disinclined to deal him, in part because his value is down after a season in which he missed most of the first half with a shoulder separation, then posted a disappointing second-half when he did play.
Ellsbury is eligible for free agency after 2013, but it seems highly unlikely that a contract extension will get worked out. Instead, the Sox think the best thing to do is hold onto Ellsbury and hope to be the beneficiary of another standout season -- like the one he had in 2011 -- as he nears free agency.
The outfielder made just over 8 million last year and will undoubtedly get a bump in pay through the arbitration process.
"We're going to obviously have a discussion about his contract upcoming,'' said agent Scott Boras. "We have to negotiate for the coming year. I think that's going to be up to the Red Sox and Ben (Cherington), when they let me know what they want to do and I haven't had that discussion.''
One more piece of the coaching staff puzzle was pieced together with the announcement that Gary Tuck will return for his seventh year as bullpen coachcatching instructor.
Tuck had an option to return and decided to exercise it.
Tuck clashed with Bobby Valentine last year, but has a good relationship with new manager John Farrell. Farrell, in fact, attempted to hire Tuck as his bench coach when he went to Toronto two years ago.
"I think John felt that having at least one person back from the 2012 staff was important,'' said Cherington. "Aside from his skill as a catching instructor and being a smart baseball guy, he's got a lot of insight into our players from (2012) and no one else on the staff is going to have that.''
Meanwhile, not long after it was reported by ESPNBoston that the Sox would interview Tino Martinez for the position of hitting coach, Martinez accepted the same position with the Miami Marlins.
"We're going to start interviews this weekend,'' said Cherington. "Those will unfold over the course of early next week. I assume there'll be a handful of candidates.''
A number of potential free agent targets could be taken off the table Friday, the deadline for free agents to accept or decline the qualifying offers from their 2012 teams.
If a player accepts, he immediately becomes signed by his former team.
"We'll keep an eye on those,'' said Cherington. "I don't think there will be too many surprises with the decisions. But we'll keep an eye on them and react accordingly.''
Among the players in whom the Sox have interested who were given qualifying offers: New York's Nick Swisher; Washington's Adam LaRoche and New York's Huroki Kuroda.
Swisher and LaRoche are almost certain to decline. Kuroda could possibly accept, since he enjoyed pitching in New York, is willing to take a one-year deal and would see a raise from 10 million last year to the standard 13.3 million qualifying offer figure. The Sox plan another overhaul of the medical staff, although it's likely to be more of a re-organization than anything else.
The team has already confirmed that rehab coordinator Mike Reinold will not return for 2013.
"What we're trying to do is finish off a restructuring that began last winter,'' said Cherington, "and get to a system that captures appropriately the different specialties within the medical realm -- certainly physician, trainer, therapist, strength coach. There are different modalities there involved in building a system that balances those effectively and doing it in a way that players have people who fully have their best interest in mind and are at the top of their profession.''

Mastrodonato: The Red Sox have to win now

Mastrodonato: The Red Sox have to win now

Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald joins Town Fair Tire Sports Tonight with a take on whether or not Dave Dombrowski should make a big trade.