The Jacoby Ellsbury 7 YRs/$153 MIL Deal Opens Up Many Possibilities for New York
By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
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So all of a sudden the Yankees have taken a page from their 2006 playbook.
Prior to that season, they overbid for the services of Johnny Damon, effectively ending his tenure with their rivals – the Boston Red Sox.
They have gone back to the well for a 2nd time – raiding the Sox for their Starting CF.
It is a bold and calculated gamble for the Yankees, but then again, they are the biggest entity in the MLB – and they needed to protect the fledgling ratings on TV, and also to make sure the fans come through the turnstiles at New Yankee Stadium
Jacoby Ellsbury was brought in for a 7 YR/$153 MIL deal – that will send shockwaves throughout the Bronx and Major League Baseball.
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The Red Sox will receive their 2nd pick from their 4 qualifying offers made to Free Agents.
Of course everyone remembers the Red Sox still won the 2007 World Series, however you could also say that Damon was vital to the New York Yankees 2009 title, his last season in New York.
Ellsbury is the kind of dynamic player the Yankees really need. He plays great defense, is a speed demon on the basepaths, while also possessing nice power.
If he can effectively stay healthy, there is no reason to think he can’t revert to his 2011 campaign, in which he finished 2nd in AL MVP voting.
Ellsbury has 60 – 70 XBH power – and will act as the leadoff guy New York hasn’t seen since Johnny Damon.
He has a great career OBP, he is Left Handed After 2011, Ellsbury looked to be a top 5 player in the Majors. a 30/30 Leadoff hitter, with the great running ability. Really he was Mike Trout, before Mike Trout arrived.
Injuries have plagued the 30 year old from Madras, Oregon, there is no doubt about that. He missed 144 Games in 2010, and then missed another 88 in 2012.
In 2013, Ellsbury managed to tough it out for 134 Games, and also remained healthy enough for the World Series Run – even though he was sporting a walking boot – and played in just 7 contests in Sept/October.
His playoff run solidified his Free Agency status as a rockstar – by 3 Slashing .344/.408/.836 – with 22 Hits, 6 SB and 14 Runs Scored throughout the 2013 Post Season.
Ellsbury did the most damage against the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS Round – going 9 – 18 (.500) – with Stolen Bases in four consecutive games – while scoring 7 runs for the series.
I am sure the Yankees brass have been scouting him in the regular and post season for years. Ellsbury has definitely proven he can handle the pressure when the game dictates it.
He is AL East battle tested, and knows the pitching in the Division. He knows what it is like to play in a high anxiety media market.
The key is just for the guy to remain on the field. If Ellsbury can do that, we might be seeing the most prolific hitter out of the leadoff spot for the Bronx Bombers since the days of Rickey Henderson.
The short porch in RF at Yankee Stadium should enable the man to hit 15 – 20 HRs every year, and I think it would not be absurd if you saw 40 Doubles and 10 Triples every year either.
The one thing that will be interesting to see is what the franchise will do with Brett Gardner. Would he move to another OF position to create the spot for Ellsbury – or would you rather have him play a corner Outfield spot.
I think what they could do is make Soriano the permanent DH for 2014, and let Wells be the 4th OF.
This move is also a boost for the years beyond next campaign – as the organization had no one signed past 2014 in the Outfield.
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I also foresee a scenario where the team could trade Brett Gardner for some pitching. He is injury prone himself, and is set to become a Free Agent after the 2014 year too.
Perhaps the Oakland Athletics may be interest in him coming over for a Starting Pitcher like Brett Anderson?
In another move done by the club yesterday, they also signed Kelly Johnson to a 1 YR/$2.75 MIL deal. This provides the club great insurance at 2B in case they can’t resign Cano.
Johnson can also play the OF, which would still free up the team to trade Gardner if they wanted too.
The one player that should be worries about a ‘Designated For Assignment’ maybe Vernon Wells.
Back to Ellsbury vs Cano.
While Robinson Cano has had ascending power numbers, and has remained healthier than the CF the last 4 years, the Yankees know that they are not dealing with an ALL – Time fan favorite in their own Second Baseman.
Ratings for the YES network were down 30% for the majority of the year, and it was actually the timing of Alfonso Soriano coming back – that coincided with the team playing better, and ratings coming back up to respectful numbers.
The Yankees team are really held hostage by the Alex Rodriguez pending suspension, and the Cano camp simply asking for too much money.
By signing Ellsbury, this a deflating blow to Cano’s pocketbook. Free Agency is supply and demand, so the Pinstripers have burned some dollars off what they can pay him.
The team has still said it wants to remain under the $189 MIL Luxury Tax Threshold for 2014.
Based on this contract, the club is sitting around $160 MIL – and they haven’t addressed their Starting Pitching needs – or even a Closer for that matter,
The franchise will definitely bid higher for the services of Masahiro Tanaka, – as his total of the posting bid for his services would not go directly against the AAV (Average Annual Value), the formula used for the yearly Luxury Tax salary.
The only thing to stand in the way would be the new provisions put in place by the MLB. One of the rumors was that there may be a maximum bid for the clubs to offer, and then it would then the decision would work like waivers – where the team with the lowest winning percentage, would have 1st bid.
You must also try to sign Hiroki Kuroda, but that will also cost you upwards of $15 MIL for 2014. The team may turn to the bargain bin for a Closer, or wait to see about the Rodriguez case to see how much they could spend.
Having David Robertson to start the year is not the worst situation in the world either.
Should the A-Rod suspension stick for at least 150 games, the organization would net $25 MIL back towards the bottom line.
At this point, this may be the only way for the Yankees to hit their financial goals, and then bring back their ALL – Star 2B.
As a Yankees fan myself, i am glad they didn’t wait around for Cano to sign, or lower his price, as other Free Agents were going to slowly be picked off one by one.
The worst thing the Yankees could have done was to mimic the winter the Texas Rangers had in 2012 – going into 2013, where they were left in the cold by most of the Free Agents, while trying to sign select players.
So for Cano, he has probably lost money in bidding parties, and now may have to wait until 2014 on the calendar before he is signed.
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Posted on December 4, 2013, in Free Agency, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged 2014 Luxury Tax Threshold, AL East, alex rodriguez, alfonso soriano, billy beane, boston red sox, Brendan Ryan, brett anderson, brett gardner, coco crisp, craig gentry, david ortiz, eduardo nunez, grady sizemore, hiroki kuroda, jacoby ellsbury, johnny damon, josh reddick, kelly johnson, masahiro tanaka, melky mesa, new york yankees, New york Yankees Payroll, NPB and MLB posting agreement 2014, oakland athletics, rickey henderson, robinson cano, seth smith, tyler austin, vernon wells, yankee stadium, zoilo almonte. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.