It’s hard for me to understand why anyone was surprised that the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury in free agency. I saw this one coming from a mile away. I had the feeling from the day we all knew Ellsbury was gone that the Yankees would get involved. I am not at all shocked he is in pinstripes.
The Yankees apparently feel justified in signing him for the following reasons: he was a big, splashy free agent catch; they don’t appear to be serious about the $189 million tax threshold; they always covet other team’s stud players at the possible expense of their own (Cano) and they missed the playoffs last season. Add all that up and did you really expect the Yankees to allow Ellsbury to play anywhere else in 2014?
Oct 30, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury reacts after scoring a run against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth inning during game six of the MLB baseball World Series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
It’s what they do. The Yankees love swiping useful players away from the Red Sox and other teams because they can’t beat them on their own since the world turned upside down in 2004. They just can’t help themselves.
It started with Johnny Damon after the 2004 World Series winning season and now it’s Ellsbury after the 2013 championship. The Yankees are interested in winning world championships but, if you know them well, they’re also interested in hurting their blood rivals along the way.
I don’t care how much money Detroit, Seattle or Texas were willing to pony up for a good, but not great, center fielder. The Yankees identified him as a target and bid so far against themselves that none of those other teams was ever going to be close.
Give the Yankees credit, they know losing Ellsbury in the short term will hurt the Red Sox. I just don’t happen to think it will be as much as some fear because I believe Sox management is very confident in either Jackie Bradley, Jr. stepping into center field or in their ability to find another solution.
Ben Cherington and Co. deserve the benefit of the doubt after last season’s World Series ride. They proved they know how to build a team so losing Ellsbury is not the killer some (albeit very few) are making it out to be. Plus, he was destined to leave anyway.
And this is no coup for the Yankees. They already had a JV version of Ellsbury in Brett Gardner whose value will now decrease as a corner outfielder and Ellsbury can’t pitch. The Yankees need pitching. Spending money on a luxury item like Ellsbury isn’t going to help them on the mound.
Oct 30, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury hits a double against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth inning during game six of the MLB baseball World Series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
The Red Sox would have been insane to go anywhere near the 7 years and $153 million that the Yanks doled out. We all know they learned their lesson after the Carl Crawford contract fiasco. The discipline they showed here proves that.
Thanks to Jacoby for all the good times and for the contributions along the way. I have nothing bad to say about him. But it is going to be fun to sit back and watch Ellsbury’s career in New York unfold.
It will cause Sox fans agita in the next 2-3 years because Ellsbury WILL help the Yankees in a big way. But after that you have to think the Yankees will be looking at another A-Rod or CC Sabathia type of albatross contract. Do they ever learn their lesson about these type of contracts or do they just not care?
Either way, Ellsbury is the Yanks’ problem now when the nagging injuries start to pile up on a now 30-year old speed player. You can call it sour grapes but I call it the likely truth.
The only job we now have as Sox fans as we watch The Rivalry ramp up again is to root for Jacoby to fail every day for the rest of his baseball career in pinstripes. It’s what WE do.