Yankees May Have Financially Crippled Their Future

I like Jacoby Ellsbury. Jacoby Ellsbury is a good, perhaps even great, player and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching him grow as a member of the Red Sox. I’m not torn apart that he signed with the Yankees. He made a purely financial decision and I’m proud of him finding his big payday. After all, if anybody should be torn apart that he signed with the Yankees, it’s the Yankees themselves.

Let’s disregard the two major injuries he has undergone in the past four years. Those were freak injuries caused by large men literally falling on top of him. Let’s look solely at the value that Jacoby Ellsbury brings to the Yankees.

Oct 30, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (2) hits a double against the St. Louis Cardinals during the fourth inning of game six of the MLB baseball World Series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

In his seven year career, Ellsbury is a career .297/.350/.439 hitter, stats brought up significantly by a 2011 season that saw him hit 32 home runs– a number he has not even come close to in any other season. However, it’s worth considering that the short right field porch in Yankee Stadium will elevate his power numbers, so we’ll leave it be. That’s not the type of slash line that players receiving a 7 year/$153 million contract normally have over their careers. No, Ellsbury’s money maker is his speed as he has averaged 55 steals per 162 games during his career and has led the American League three times.

That speed is what makes Ellsbury one of the best, if not the best, leadoff hitter in baseball. That speed is what makes Ellsbury an elite defensive center fielder who has won a Gold Glove. Most importantly, that speed is what propels Ellsbury from a $10-$15 million player to a $21 million player.

However, Ellsbury is 30 years old. It’s common knowledge that guys who rely on their speed to be effective do not age well. Regardless of that, the Yankees will still be paying Ellsbury more than $20 million a year well into his mid-30′s. For a team which (allegedly) is trying hard to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold, that is devastating.

Of course, it is possible that the Yankees will abandon this new way of thinking and return to their free-spending days of yesteryear. However, a huge contract to a speed guy without his speed is still a significant blot on their payroll. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a solid chance that Ellsbury will be worth every penny for the first three or four years of this contract. After that, however, there’s an equally solid chance that the Yankees will woefully regret this signing.

It will be hard to see Ellsbury playing on another team, particularly the Yankees. However, I’m glad that Ben Cherington and the Red Sox front office stood their ground and didn’t give Ellsbury a contract of this size. That’s not even considering that this contract may well prevent the Yankees from signing Robinson Cano, and I’d face Ellsbury over Cano any day of the week.


Topics: Jacoby Ellsbury

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  • Michael Macaulay-Birks

    Carl Pavano, Kevin Brown, Igawa, A Rod, Texiera, Granderson, even Jeter at this point..the Yankees are known as much for their outlandish contracts as they are their 1 title this decade..good luck Jacoby, I’ll miss you…but I’m grateful we wont be paying you 21 million per when you’re 38

    • John Fahrer

      I just love how these idiot Yankee fans have to troll here since they can’t find any of their own fan sites praising this move. Almost feel bad about having to define what a prospect is to them since they don’t know what it means.

      Yeah we definitely should’ve ponied up for Ellsbury even though we have an at least near MLB ready CF with a strong throwing arm and good OBP skills (seems like forever since we had a strong armed CF).

  • Bigchief

    Who really cares how much the yanks spend they are the richest of any team by far and have won more World Series than the sox will ever do I guess everybody hates a winner

    • Michael Macaulay-Birks

      yeah, 85 wins and a 210 million dollar payroll just screams winner

      • Bigchief

        Yanks also had half the team out for most of the yr . Still pissed over the Bucky dent thing? Or is it the Boone thing?

        • Michael Macaulay-Birks

          nah, 2004 (the biggest choke in sports history) numbed those two, and Buckner for me..btw, isn’t there some Michael Kay website you should be on instead of trolling here?

        • John Fahrer

          You still would’ve been in third. In fact you probably benefited from not having Jeter at SS.

          You honestly think these signings of over 30 guys will make you better? I know not all Yankee fans are this stupid, but you’re the stereotypical Yankee blowhard who lives in the past. Got rings lately?

    • John Fahrer

      Do you morons really not have anything better to hide behind than the ring count (didn’t 21 of those come before the 70s BTW)?

      You guys will still be in third next season.

      • Bigchief

        Your just a dickhead red sox fan

        • John Fahrer

          Wow that was an intelligent response.

          Speaking of that part of the anatomy: it seems Yankee fans support teams with big payrolls because try lack size in that certain area.

    • http://bosoxinjection.com/ Earl Nash

      No, some people are annoyed that some teams win, not on talent or skill, but simply by spending more money. Let’s have a salary cap [like NFL] and see how the chips fall…

  • Bks1632

    Big chief – hate a winner??? Who won this year dummy….

    • Bigchief

      27to 8 that’s a winner dummy

      • John Fahrer

        What’s the count since 04 again? 3 to 1?

  • Bks1632

    Ellsbury is a fantastic player but 5/100 or 6/120 million is top dollar for what he brings to the table (or the most I would of wanted the sox to pay)…. Just too bad he became a traitor… If he hadn’t he could of gone anywhere else and always been cheered in Fenway….. That’s over now….

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