New York Yankees and Jacoby Ellsbury Agree To Contract
Well, the Bronx Bombers are apparently at it again. On the heels of signing catcher Brian McCann to a five year deal worth $85 million that could grow to a six year contact valued at $100 million the Yankees it appears the Yankees have signed free agent outfielder and former Boston Red Sox, Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven year deal worth a reported $153 million. But what does this mean?
The Yankees have sworn that their goal was to get below the new luxury tax threshold and benefit from the reset of the penalty scale. But with these two signings and the ongoing negotiations with Robinson Cano this is looking like a stretch of the imagination. Of course if Cano and the Yankees can agree to a deal and get creative with the contract coupled with the Alex Rodriguez appeal then the Yankees still might be able to accomplish the task.
The Ellsbury contract is intriguing and shows me that the Yankees do not learn from their mistakes. We are all painfully aware of the Alex Rodriguez 10 year contract worth $275 million. With the ARod contract it was not the actual value that I found mind boggling. Sure, they grossly overpaid but the Yankees can afford to do that especially in the short term which would have been preferable. My bigger concern was the length. The Yankees had to know that they would be losing money in the final four or five years of the deal yet they signed him until he would turn 42 years old.
Do I expect the same issues with Ellsbury? To some degree and without the romper room yes there is reason to believe the last couple of years of this contract could be wasted money yet again. Why would I say this? Ellsbury is 30 years old and his game is all about speed. Outside of the power aberration that was 2011 he makes his living stealing bases and acting as the table setter. He is also a very effective center fielder who relies on his speed to excel.
Is it practical to expect Ellsbury to continue that play when he is 37, 36 or even 35? There is logic to say no. Speed based players will suffer a decline quicker that the power bat, it is just a reality with minor exceptions. Secondly Ellsbury has not exactly been the prototypical model of health in his career. When healthy he is great but in 2012 he only played in 74 games after enduring a partially dislocated shoulder. In 2010 he only played in 18 games due to a busted rib cage and just this last season he missed 19 games with a compression fracture in his foot.
Those injuries can be looked at as all fluke collision injuries and there is a level of validity to that but the concern here is that he has suffered three major injuries in four years and all on the proper side of 30. What can be expected when the body continues to take a beating and more miles are put on this horse? The odds are not in favor of incredible statistics. Rather a rapid or at a minimum steady decline can be expected around 34 years old. The Yankees would have been better off to pay Ellsbury $2-$4 million more per year over four years than to go out to seven.
Yet again, just when I thought the Yankees were looking at the future it appears they are going for the gusto over the next three years and not worrying about any time past that. Will the Yankee fans love this signing? Most likely but even some of them will be wondering about the future.
Robinson Cano Contract Update (12/4/2013)
The Yankees have been growing concerned about the possibility of resigning their All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano. Reports are that the Yankees have offered Cano a deal worth $160-$175 million and are not willing to go over seven years.. While Cano has come down in demands he is still reportedly looking for a deal worth $250- $260 million.
According to Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News, the Seattle Mariners are giving it their all to land Cano. While the specifics of the deal are not yet known it is clear that the Mariners have topped the offer made by the Yankees. The Mariners are trying to sway the Yankee star with the idea of becoming a baseball legend for returning the Mariners franchise and helping them win their first World Series title. So what will it be for Cano? Stay in New York for less money and continue to be a perennial contender and a team with a rich history or take the extra money and become the face of a franchise looking for return to relevance and win their first title?
Outside of the Yankees and the Mariners there do not appear to be any other suitors for Cano’s services given his current contract demands. Could the signing of McCann and Ellsbury be a sign that the Yankees are accepting the fact that Cano will be taking his talents to the great northwest? More to follow.