The New York Yankees made a noteworthy move yesterday signing outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury away from the Red Sox to a 7-year $153 million dollar contract.
Ellsbury’s deal is the 3rd largest contract EVER given to an outfielder, and the 4th largest in Yankees history. In now way shape or form is Jacoby Ellsbury the 3rd best outfielder, or 4th best Yankee ever, that’s just a joke.
To put Ellsbury’s deal in perspective, reigning NL MVP Andrew McCutchen was signed to a 6-year $51.5 million dollar deal prior to the 2012 season. Jacoby Ellsbury is not $100 million dollars better, or better period than McCutchen.
There’s no doubt the Yankees significantly overpaid for a player of Ellsbury’s caliber. He’s a career .298 hitter, is not very durable, and has had just one great year which came in 2011. That year, Ellsbury hit 32 homers, drove in 105 runs, had 212 hits, scored 119 runs, hit .321, and had 46 doubles, all of which were career highs.
Taking away Ellsbury’s 2011 season, he’s hit a combined 33 home-runs in 6 seasons, and has 84 RBIs total over his last 3 years. That’s not very good for someone who gets the 3rd highest contract among outfielders EVER. His previous career high in doubles was 27 in 2009, and he only hit over .300 one other time.
He’s also 30-years old and has played in under 80 games in 2 of the past 4 seasons.
What should concern the Yankees about Ellsbury is his durability, and how long he will be able to maintain his speed. He led the AL in steals last season with 52, but he will 37 when his contract expires. There’s no way he’ll still be close to the same player in 2020.
The addition of Ellsbury though is a better move for the Yankees than if they had signed the soon to be 37-year-old Carlos Beltran to a 3-year contract. The last thing the Yankees needed was another outfielder in their late 30s.
Ellsbury is a very dynamic hitter than can beat you in a variety of ways, and manager Joe Girardi has a dilemma on his hands about where to put him in the lineup. He should hit first or second, with Brett Gardner taking up the other spot, but that would mean the Yankees would have back to back left-handed hitters at the top of the lineup.
We all know how much Joe Girardi hates having consecutive lefties in his batting order. Where Girardi hits Derek Jeter will be something to watch. Does he have the guts to hit Jeter at the bottom of the order (I doubt it), or will be put him back at the 2-spot as a sign of respect, or even hit Jeter 3rd?
It would be a mistake to hit Ellsbury in the middle of the order because his speed is too great to turn him into solely a power guy. He led the AL in steals last year with 52, and the Yankees turned Curtis Granderson into a power guy and he became much less dynamic of a player.
If Ellsbury can stay healthy, this will be a very good move for the Yankees. He just hasn’t shown he has the ability to take the field everyday which means the Yankees could be throwing away a whole lot of money with this move.