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Yankees agree to seven-year, $153M contract with free agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury

Dec 3, 2013, 8:34 PM EDT

ellsbury getty Getty Images

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman was the first to mention the possibility and now Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News has the deal confirmed.

The Yankees have officially reached agreement on a seven-year contract with free agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. The total value of the deal will exceed the seven-year, $142 million pact that Carl Crawford signed with the Red Sox prior to the 2011 season.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports says this Ellsbury contract does not preclude the Yankees from being able to re-sign Robinson Cano, but it certainly puts the pressure on Cano’s new representatives at Roc Nation Sports.

Ellsbury, 30, hit .298/.355/.426 with nine homers and 52 steals in 134 games this past season for the World Series-champion Red Sox. The Scott Boras client will likely lead off and play center field in New York.


UPDATE, 8:55 p.m. ET: Ellsbury’s seven-year deal is worth $153 million, according to Feinsand.

UPDATE, 9:02 p.m. ET: Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports that there’s an eighth-year option.

160 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. markfrednubble - Dec 3, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    The Yankees are like a junkie who just cannot help himself. They are sagging from the weight of bad contracts and they go out and pay an injury-prone player like he’s a durable Hall of Famer. Ellsbury is a terrific player when healthy, no question. But aside from one year, he is not a superstar and when the speed starts to leave him, is he likely to start pulling the ball and become a Yankee Stadium slugger?

    Here’s a wild thought — what if the Red Sox now jump in on Cano and offer him his 30m a year — but on a 3- or 4-year deal to play first base? Cano could then hit the jackpot one more time when this deal expires, and the Sox could stick to their new approach of never going too long on the guaranteed years.

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:30 AM

      yeah, get a second baseman to play first, you must be drunk.

      • peter1820 - Dec 5, 2013 at 12:11 AM

        agreed lol. however pedroia can play shortstop and the sox have a hole there right now lol. Although i would think it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the sox to make an offer at cano to drive his price up and hurt the yankees in that way

    • pjmarn6 - Dec 4, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      The Steinbrenner brothers instead of buying those artificial logs made out of compressed paper to burn in their fireplaces are making the logs out of $100 bills. They will never learn that about 33-35, a baseball player is over the hill. If they get 3 years out of this guy, it will be a miracle.
      Take 1-2 years invest the money in the farm system and get young good talent that will produce.

      • mick2014 - Dec 4, 2013 at 9:50 PM

        Now that’s what you call pissing away serious cash! Funny how they did not learn their lesson after the A-rod fiasco.

  2. sawxalicious - Dec 3, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    As a Red Sox fan, I am sad to see Jacoby leave from a purely baseball perspective. But, as we all know, this is a business. And from a business perspective, this is a terrible signing by the Yankees. Not only are they guaranteeing all those dollars and years, the RS get one of their top draft picks and they gave Gardner one hell of a comparable when it’s time for him to cash in. I think the Yankees probably won’t resign Cano. With that subtraction and the addition of McCann and Ellsbury, they are treading water with their offense. Not worse than last year, but not better either. The RS made the right decision to let Ellsbury walk. In today’s baseball/business climate, I would not have exceeded 100 mill/5 years if I were a GM. Yankees pitching is in the toilet, and pitching is what wins games. It is no sure thing that they’ll sign the latest Japanese pitcher coming to America. I don’t see too many other moves the Yankees can make to improve their team substantially. Thoughts?

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:33 AM

      I don’t know why they signed him for 7 years and 153 mil, they could have offered Grandy 3yrs @ 45 mil and he would have taken it.
      Yankees are making desperate moves because the Red Sox got hot at the right time.

      • fpstratton - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:55 AM

        I totally agree. Robinson Cano is more of an impact player than Ellsbury. He plays every day and produces. Ellsbury is a good player, but he’s not a game changer. This signing makes no sense. Historically, when the Yankees have tried to go “small” and add speed to the lineup, it hasn’t generated championships. After the 1981 season, where they did make it to the World Series, George Steinbrenner decided to revamp the team and add speed in the name of Dave Collins, who had been a productive leadoff hitter for the Reds. He was similar to Ellsbury: very good on the basepaths, decent defensively, and good for single-digit home runs every year. Needless to say, the move was a fiasco. I don’t expect this move to be as bad, but it won’t help the Yankees get to the promised land of world series championships. There’s a reason they’re called the Bronx Bombers. It’s about pitching and home runs in Yankee Stadium.

    • dan1111 - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:02 AM

      Actually, they have massively upgraded the offense compared to last season. Stewart, their primary catcher last season, “hit” .211/.293/.272. McCann will be a huge improvement. And Ellsbury will replace some of Wells’s and Suzuki’s bad hitting in the lineup, while improving the outfield defense.

      I do, however, agree that is a poor deal for the Yankees long-term. It is surprising that they gave him nearly as much as they (allegedly) offered Cano. They will likely regret this signing in a few years.

    • basedrum777 - Dec 4, 2013 at 9:19 AM

      People keep pointing to the $ as a reason why this is a bad signing. IF the yankees get out of the Arod contract which most think they will through suspension and/or insurance, then they’re going to restart their tax % starting the year after next. Then it won’t matter how much tey have locked up in Ellsbury. Yankees fans like to bitch that they never sign young stars entering their formidable years but then when they do they bitch that they overpaid (which is inevitable in this scenario) and that they got the wrong guy. Cashman is better at his job than any of the armchair gm’s on this site or any other. If Kuroda resigns (which I think is likely) then the Yanks have CC (whatever you think of him he’s going to get near 20 wins every year), Kuroda (who was the best pitcher in the AL for some stretches the last 2 years), Nova (who looks like his sophomore year jitters are behind him and he’s at least a 12-15 game winner), Pineda (who when he was last healthy was almost a rookie cy young) and Whoever they get as their 5th. Thats seems just fine to me. Bullpen was their strongest asset last year. I’ll worry abou the Yankees when they start signing former marlins….

      • uwsptke - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        I don’t think that “most” people will agree that the Yankees are getting out the A-Rod contract. He won’t be paid during whatever suspension is handed out, but they aren’t going to get any insurance payment when he’s clearly healthy enough to play.

  3. keltictim - Dec 3, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    Ufl1950 or whatever your handle is, what sox fans are you talking about? ” so proud of your farm system thT hasn’t contributed to the bigs in the last 5 years”? First of all our farm system is pretty top notch. Just because they don’t all make it to the bigs with the sox means nothing. We trade them when the return is to our benefit if we don’t have a need for them, or they have other issues I.e Hanley rameriz. Theo used to and Ben does covet picks in the draft for a reason and a lot of them have worked out pretty well. Pedroia comes to mind first and foremost. Salty might not have had the impact they were looking for but he did play a vital role. In a season or two I expect Jackie Bradley to be a decent upgrade to ells and I base that on what I watched him do with the gamecocks ( I’m a season ticket holder) and his progression in the minors. I don’t know of too many teams that contend year in year out that succeed only on homegrown talent. Most teams might have one or two everyday players that came up and stayed with the teams that drafted them. Most players for many reasons need a change if scenery before they take off. Look at David Ortiz he was pretty unspectacular with the twins, he came to Boston and the rest is legendary. My guess is you dislike the sox and/or their fans so your just “throwing mud against the wall to see what sticks” to borrow a phrase.

    • dan1111 - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:24 AM

      This is not a very good defense of the Sox drafting (also the reply button is good–it ensures that we can actually see whomever it is you are responding to). Pedroia was not within the last 5 years. Salty was not a product of the Sox farm system, and they didn’t need any good prospects to get him–he was a disappointment with Texas at the time.

      In fact, as a Red Sox fan, I’d have to say they haven’t had any big wins from their farm system in the last five years. However, they have produced some useful talent: Middlebrooks, Nava, Iglesias, Doubront, and Bard. Plus they had the prospects to make a significant trade for Adrian Gonzalez. Anthony Rizzo has become a full-time player for the Padres at a young age, though he hasn’t broken out yet.

      • basedrum777 - Dec 4, 2013 at 9:21 AM

        The sox over the last 10 years have used the Yankees formula of $ and drugs to win their world series. As a Yankees fan I admire that but call a spade a spade.

  4. drelms - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    Love it, spend more money yankees you’ll never learn. They will be lucky if he can play until mid season before breaking something.

    The Sox have some some great acquisitions being lined up and they are not stupid enough to think that laying that much money down to get a guy who hasn’t lasted a whole season is insane. Now if the Yankees would only throw a couple hundred mil at Cano we could really have a good laugh.

  5. jolink653 - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    Now that Ellsbury is in center, Gardner stays in left and that leaves Ichiro and Soriano in play for right field…crazy to think that they might move Soriano back to second if Cano won’t lower his price? Would accommodate all four outfielders without clogging the DH spot

    On this deal, I don’t like it simply from a fan point of view…as a Yankees fan, I get tired of rooting for these paid mercenaries to come in. Why can’t they use that money on the farm system hiring the best coaches and talent developers to groom the talent they draft? It’s so much more fun to root for a homegrown player than one who’s here just because he wants to get paid.

    • anxovies - Dec 4, 2013 at 10:41 AM

      Because our scouting system couldn’t spot Willie Mays if he were 9 feet tall and wore a neon billboard on his back. And even if they could the farm system would screw up his swing and put him at first base.

  6. joerymi - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:54 AM

    Please, please everyone Youtube “Jay Mohr trashes Boston Red Sox fans.” This thread line verifies everything said.

    “the only think I know about Boston fans is that once a player leaves the Red Sox, they automatically become a terrible player.”

  7. tominma - Dec 4, 2013 at 5:29 AM

    The Empire strikes back!! Actually, Ellsbury is a very good player. His also very injury prone! That’s the main Boston didn’t want to go long term with him at such a price!.

    I hope he has success! I hope he sucks whenever he plays the Red Sox!!

    • rwlsports - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:57 PM

      I couldn’t agree more, the Yankees should have offered maybe a three or four year deal. They will regret this like the Angels regret all their moves.

  8. drewsylvania - Dec 4, 2013 at 7:24 AM

    This sounds like revisionism, but I always had the sense that he never really fit in in Boston. Maybe he’s just not an emotional guy, I dunno.

    • anxovies - Dec 4, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      He didn’t fit in. He can’t grow much of a beard and he showers after the game.

  9. drewsylvania - Dec 4, 2013 at 7:38 AM

    If money is no object now, what changed from last year, when it clearly was? And, if true, why not sign Cano, too?

    The funniest part of all this is: more lost draft picks for NYY. They can win this way, but how often? Problem with free-agent contracts is that you’re almost always paying someone well into their decline phase.

  10. keltictim - Dec 4, 2013 at 7:39 AM

    Dan1111 salty didn’t go straight to the bigs be went to our farm system first, I never said Pedroia was in the last five years. And I believe I mentioned how we trade our prospects for ready players. Put down pipe and re read.

  11. nbjays - Dec 4, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    “Seven years?! 153 million?! Hey, that’s my effin’ money!!!!” – Robinson Cano

    Seriously, is Brian Cashman on crack? He just spent over 20M a year on a second Brett Gardner. The Yankees are the quintessential impulse shoppers.

    • fpstratton - Dec 4, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      I agree with you. For goodness sakes, Cano resigning should have been the priority. He has earned the right to be a priority for New York.

  12. aceshigh11 - Dec 4, 2013 at 9:16 AM


    I love the guy when he’s healthy, but honestly, this isn’t going to be worth it for the Yankees in the long run.

    Good luck, Jacoby, and thanks for the memories.

  13. bunkerhillbob - Dec 4, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    This one hurts; the Yankees are going to be fearsome, now. They’ll probably win a couple more titles before they trade Ellsbury and eat a big chunk of his remaining contract and it’ll be worth it, if Ellsbury stays healthy for a few years.

    • aceshigh11 - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:49 AM

      Are you being sarcastic?

      I agree that Ellsbury will be missed in Boston and will almost certainly help the Yankees, but this still is a team (Yankees) with HUGE problems, and one speedy outfielder is not going to change that.

  14. phillysports1 - Dec 4, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    No I didn’t forget Babe Ruth . That was over 70 years ago so it’s not like anyone care lol

    • peter1820 - Dec 5, 2013 at 12:08 AM

      it was actually 95

  15. keltictim - Dec 4, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Basedrum777 nothing like a baseless accusation to start the day huh? The only accusations of drugs came from a hack reporter how many drug suspensions did the sox have last year? And money? I’m sorry but the sox dumped all their huge salaried “stars” on the dodgers and replaced them with mid level players who won the title. Using your logic shouldn’t we have gotten caught up in the biogenesis crap? Shouldn’t we have resigned jacoby and given him a ridiculous amount of years (I’m ok with the money per year, it’s the length that’s way off). We lost our way and tried to buy the rings it didn’t work out for us. So exactly who is juicing? Who is wildly overpaid?

  16. metitometin - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    So the Yankees continue to try and buy a World Series. What a joke. That whole salary cap/luxury tax thing that Bud Selig implemented to try and rein in a wealthy team like the Yanks from trying to buy a World Series is working out so well. Bud Selig should resign. Why not just cancel the season and let the Yanks write a check for the World Series, since they’re intent on stealing other team’s best players every year.

  17. psychologyofsports - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Here is my take–

  18. bighurt228 - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    Just another reason as to why there should be a salary cap in baseball. IDIOTS

    • alan3008 - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      There is a cap, but teams are allowed over it if they pay a fine. Here is how it works, per Wikipedia:
      A team that goes over the luxury tax cap for the first time in a five-year period pays a penalty of 22.5% of the amount they were over the cap, second-time violators pay a 30% penalty, and teams that exceed the limit three or more times pay a 50% penalty from 2013 onwards. There is also an incentive to lower payroll; if in any year a team goes under the threshold, the penalty rate decreases to 17.5%, 25% or 40% (depending on prior record over the previous five years) for the next time the tax is paid, which will apply from 2013.

      The cap limit for 2011-2013 is $178 million, and for 2014-2016 $189 million.

  19. alan3008 - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    Just another year where the Yankees try to BUY ANOTHER WORLD SERIES TITLE. First with McCann at catcher and now with Ellsbury in center. I hope they are both big flops.
    Baseball is broken. MLB needs to change and require ALL TEAMS to remain inside the salary cap.

  20. fpstratton - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    I would have made it a priority to sign Robinson Cano and then go after free agents with the remaining money. There are a lot of players on the market that would love to play in New York, even at a relatively modest price. Ellsbury is a good player and may end up changing his batting approach to hit more home runs in New York, but he is NO Robinson Cano.

  21. psousa1 - Dec 4, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    Ellsbury leaving is pretty much being met with a shoulder shrug in Boston. He was once an all star. He is a good player but it would not have been worth Boston to sign him for that money (Unless Theo Epstein was still the GM then he would have signed him for 10 years and 30 million then say it was ownership who wanted him and not his fault). He probably could hit third with that 285 foot RF because he pulls everything.

  22. peter1820 - Dec 5, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    im a sox fan and it’s gonna be hard to replace jacoby ellsbury. He’s a gold glove centerfielder. He steals an average of 40 plus per year…52 this year and doesn’t get caught often. He’s a 300 hitter and from a stats standpoint a 5.8 war guy. He’s a unique player and will not easily be replaced. That being said it’s hard to pay a guy who relies so much on his legs over 7 years when he’s 30. the amount per year isn’t a problem…id go 3 years 70 million and give him more per year, but it’s that back end to that contract that doesn’t make sense. Here’s the acid test. It just became December. Question: How often do high profile Scott Bouras clients sign in December? Answer: Not very often unless it’s a ridiculous deal.

  23. popi1956 - Dec 6, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    Are the redsox part of the Yankee farm system

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