The Mariners are Ellsbury's home-area team and have a need, so they have long been considered a favored possibility. The Cubs, Cardinals, Dodgers (if they trade outfielders), Phillies, Astros, Mets and incumbent Red Sox are seen as among other possibilities.
The Nationals have a solid center fielder and leadoff hitter in Denard Span but sources suggest they may still consider Ellsbury, who again demonstrated his value as an offensive sparkplug in the postseason, helping the Red Sox to a second title in his tenure in Boston.
Washington has done many deals with Ellsbury's agent Scott Boras.
Ellsbury turned down an offer of more than $100 million from the Red Sox following the 2011 season when the team already had Carl Crawford in the fold for $142 million over seven years. Boston has since traded that contract and had vast success this winter with shorter deals, but there appears to be interest in bringing him back, though at what they consider the right price.
Ellsbury didn't entertain a second attempt last winter by Boston people, and it would seem his chances now may depend on the team's willlingness to stretch its target price following the World Series championship.
Ellsbury hit .298 with nine home runs and a league-leading 52 stolen bases this year. He missed most of September with a foot injury and played through the postseason with a hand so swollen that teammates were calling him "Sherman" for Sherman Klump, the lumpy Eddie Murphy character.