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When will the Yankees regret the Jacoby Ellsbury contract?

Dec 4, 2013, 10:47 AM EDT

ellsbury Getty Images

These huge, later-career deals never turn out great. The best you can hope for when you sign a 30-something baseball player to a hugely expensive long-term deal is that he will have a couple of good years on the front end to boost up his value, have a nice rebound year somewhere in the middle, and not be utterly useless and difficult to deal with at the end.

You can go down the list of players signed longterm after the age of 30 – Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Hamilton, Alfonso Soriano, Vernon Wells, Ryan Howard, Jason Giambi, Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza, on and on — and you will find, over and over, deals that teams regretted t some point or other.

So the Yankees will inevitably regret signing Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year, $153 million deal — the real question is when. If they don’t regret the deal until 2018 or 2019 — when Ellsbury is a 35-year old coming to the end of his deal, struggling to stay in center field, constantly battling some nagging injuries — then you would have to say that they should feel pretty good about things. The trouble with these deals is that the regret often happens much earlier than you expect. I’m sure the Angels KNEW they were going to regret the Josh Hamilton deal at some point. I just don’t think they expected it to be the first year.

Ellsbury, when healthy, is a fabulous baseball player. I’ve seen him compared pretty often with Carl Crawford, and Crawford was pretty great as a young player. But I think Ellsbury is an even better player than Crawford was in Tampa Bay. For one thing, he plays centerfield while Crawford played left. They were both superior defenders, but a superb center fielder is quite a bit more valuable than a superb left fielder. Ellsbury also gets on base more and might even be a more potent base stealer (last year, Ellsbury stole 52 bases and was caught just four times all year — Crawford led the league in steals annually but would get thrown out a bit more).

Also, Crawford never had a season like Ellsbury’s 2011, when he hit .321/.376/.552 with 32 homers, 105 runs scored, 119 RBIs and 39 stolen bases (though that year he was caught a lot — 15 times).

Then again Crawford was also much more durable than Ellsbury. From 2003 to 2010, Crawford played 140-plus games every year but one, and even in the year he was hampered by injuries he played 109 games. Ellsbury meanwhile has had two of the last four seasons destroyed by injuries — he played just 18 games in 2010, just 74 games in 2012. Nobody can say if those injuries project anything for the future but they are part of his history.

The Yankees have so much money — and so much money on the line — they figure he’s worth the risk. I can see their point. If the Royals or Mariners or Brewers or some team like that had given Jacoby Ellsbury a seven-year, $153 million deal, you could say without any hesitation that they had lost their minds. That’s exactly the sort of deal that can paralyze a smaller franchise for a half-decade.

But the Yankees are a different category. The Yankees in that too-big-to-fail category — they have money on top of money, and they are constantly aware that if they put a losing and uninteresting team on the field, everything crashes. Nobody buys their absurdly high-priced tickets. Fewer people watch their cash cow Yes Network. The back page of the Post and Daily News looks elsewhere. The Yankees brand — the most lucrative in America — starts to devalue a little bit and then a little bit more and … they just can’t let that happen. Money, they have. Wins, they need.

And so the Yankees are playing a different game. If they get even one superstar year and maybe a couple of good years from Ellsbury, they will probably be pretty happy.

How good a bet is Ellsbury to have one more season like he did in 2011? I’m not sure. That was an unusual power surge from a player who has never hit double-digit homers any other year. Then again, that’s a very short porch in right field at New Yankee Stadium.

Truth is, we can spend a lot of time trying to compare Ellsbury to other players — his Baseball Reference comps of Phil Bradley, Tony Gonzalez and Roberto Kelly do not strike an encouraging note — but it’s hard to find many players like Ellsbury in baseball history. He stole 70 bases in a season. He hit 30 home runs in a season. There’s only one other player in baseball history who pulled off those two feats in a career, Eric Davis. And he had a rebirth in his mid-30s, even while battling colon cancer.

My gut instinct is that it will work out for the Yankees. But I say this in part because things always seem to work out for the Yankees.

I can say this with more confidence: If the Mariners sign Robinson Cano … that won’t work out.

103 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. tcostant - Dec 4, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    Pretty ironic that the best of these deal lately was the most offen criticized at the time. Jason Werth’s contract doesn’t look so bad now…

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:00 AM

      doesn’t look too good either, just ask Nats front office.

      • tcostant - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:13 AM

        I think your wrong there and I think they (Nat’s FO) are happy.

        He had a bad first year, but my have had the best year ever last year. If the Nats had made the playoffs, he might have won the MVP award and would have been in the top 3 easy. Right now he is playing well and has four years left.

      • Old Gator - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:24 AM

        You also have to remember where the Gnats were on the credibility meter four years ago. Like, they couldn’t budge the needle. They were still the wreckage of the Montreal Expos sitting in Washington like a glacial anomaly. The Werth signing was more than an investment or vote of confidence in one ballplayer. It was a declaration that they meant to be for real and wanted to be take seriously by other FAs on the market who otherwise would only have been talking to them as a leverage ploy meant for the teams with whom they really wanted to sign. They got everyone’s attention and, for better or worse, have been taken seriously ever since. Worth was their cornerstone. Last year, he also showed he could lead them most of the way out of the wilderness. I’d say that deal, as absurd as it might have seemed at the time, worked out well for the Gnats on a lot of levels.

      • karlkolchak - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:57 AM

        Not to mention that the Nats’ ownerships group has money falling out of its a$$. It COULD play the Yankees game were it so inclined, especially once the get the local tv deal straightened out.

      • jrbdmb - Dec 4, 2013 at 3:57 PM

        “Not to mention that the Nats’ ownerships group has money falling out of its a$$. It COULD play the Yankees game were it so inclined, especially once the get the local tv deal straightened out.”

        Per, the Nationals in 2011 had the smallest average TV audience in baseball, 29,000, for games aired on MASN and MASN2. Compete with the Yankees? Money falling out of its a$$? Hardly.

    • cohnjusack - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:11 AM

      Umm…I don’t know.

      1. There’s 4 years, $83 million left on it.
      2. They will be during his age 35, 36, 37 and 38 seasons. Hardly peak time for a ball player.
      3. Last year was pretty damn fine, but the first two weren’t. He posted a lowly .718 OPS the first year and was limited to 81 games his 2nd year.

      1 good year out of three does not make a bad contract and good one.

      • tcostant - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:19 AM

        Year two he was hurt and when he came back the injury took his power, so they gave him time at leadoff hitter and it more than worked out for that year. In the NLDS he hit a walk off extra inning HR, te get tham to the Game 5 where there blew a 6-0.

        No doubt in mind they happy with year two also. To bad he couldn’t close out the game too.

    • anxovies - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:10 PM

      Ah! Jason Werth.

    • jfk69 - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:17 PM

      The Yankees missed the playoffs. Their huge cable revenue depends on attendance and viewership.
      Who cares what he does in the 4th year. This is the here and now. George’s playbook is still used by Hal. MISS PLAYOFF MISS THE PAYOFFS

    • pjmarn6 - Dec 4, 2013 at 8:41 PM

      Yes the Yankees have lost their minds and everything else. Much better to spend 1-2-3 years restocking the farm and bringing in young prospects. These idiots do not realize that for baseball 35 is way over the hill for most ball players.
      Rolling the dice is a sure loser.

  2. fanofevilempire - Dec 4, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    good grief, he has even put on a Dark Blue Yankee fitted yet.
    you probably have an article about his failure already and just waiting to hit send.

  3. sdelmonte - Dec 4, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    The question to ask is, are the Yankees happy with Texiera? This deal reminds me of that one. They spent a lot, he came to town and they won a title his first year, and he has steadily gone downhill since.

    I think if you ask fans if they like that deal, they say yes. If you ask the ownership, I am not sure.

    And of course, if the Yanks then sign Cano to a similar contract, they face the same set of risks twice. Even though Cano seems to be more durable.

    I think, beyond that, the thing that they are REALLY worried about CC. If he doesn’t find his way back, all the bats can only get you so far.

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      CC and Nova better produce, what follows is yet to be determined.
      and remember there is no MO in the bull pen.

    • anxovies - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      Ah, Jayson Werth:

      Teixiera: 5 yrs, 138 HR 437 RBI .260 BA, outstanding play at 1B. And that includes 2013 when he only played in 8 games. Yeah, I think they are good with it, especially if he bounces back and has a representative year or two. I don’t think he is through yet and he’s gone in 3 years.

    • jrobitaille23 - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:22 PM

      Tex is the perfect example of what happens to a player after they are off, or have to curtail PED use. Power numbers go down, health decreases, and overall you return the player you should have been all along and that is what you are seeing. The fact that he plays in that bandbox for lefties and his numbers are average is all I need to see to know he is now clean. Look around the majors. It’s happening to many a ‘slugger’ and numbers are down. But here on HT, PED has nothing to do with performance right? lmao

      • paperlions - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:50 PM

        You are an idiot.

        Teixeira is perfect example of what happens to a hitter with a horrible wrist/hand injury.

      • jrobitaille23 - Dec 4, 2013 at 8:40 PM

        you’re a douche. his numbers declines because he isn’t juicing. What are you his wife? Feel like you have to defend him? ha ha ha moron

      • dcarroll73 - Dec 5, 2013 at 8:20 AM

        hey robatille, where is your evidence? I really wish public figures could sue clowns like you who throw around totally unsubstantiated garbage. To compound your stupidity, you go to juvenile insults when you’re confronted. Don’t you have anything better to do than hurl smears at people you don’t know anything about? A more logical explanation of the cause of Tex’s problems can be stated in three words, World Baseball Classic. I would applaud the Yanks having a policy that nobody on their team participates.

  4. artthoumad - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    From everything I’ve read the past 12 hours, it seems that most of the sports media like the contract the NYY gave to Ellsbury (maybe not the money, but what it means) . And the only ppl who are having buyers remorse right now are the fans. I think that this deal will pay dividends and I’m sure the NYY will surprise then fans with pitching signings.

    • sdelmonte - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      But what pitchers are out there, aside from Tanaka? I don’t see any difference makers on the market that would be sufficient upgrades from Pettitte.

      A trade using Gardner, though, might be possible. Not likely. But he is a piece you can move and get value with. (Could trade Icihiro or Wells but that would only get you prospects.)

      • 18thstreet - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:23 AM

        That Gardner is a free agent after the 2014 season would seem to minimize his value on the trade market. I like the guy (as much as I like any Yankee, that is), but I don’t think he’d get the team much in return.

        It would still be more than the Yankees would get for Ichiro or Wells, both of whom no one wants. It seems plausible that Wells gets cut before the season starts.

        I would guess we’re looking at a Yankee outfield of Gardner in left, Ellsbury in center, and Ichiro in right. Soriano is a full-time DH who will occasionally start in left to give Gardner or Ellsbury a day off. But neither Gardner nor Ellsbury (nor Vernon Wells or Soriano) has the throwing arm to play right.

        Any plans to give Teixeira, Jeter or A-Rod significant time at DH are really out the window. Soriano is the DH.

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

        But what pitchers are out there, aside from Tanaka? I don’t see any difference makers on the market that would be sufficient upgrades from Pettitte.

        I like CC/Kuroda/Tanaka > CC/Kuroda/Pettitte

      • fanofevilempire - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:06 PM

        anything you can get for Wells I don’t think we want!

  5. uyf1950 - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    Just my opinion obviously but I think the Yankees get 4 very good years out of Ellsbury, 2 probably average years and 1 probably below to disastrous year of the 7 year guaranteed contract. If that turns out to be the case the Yankees will have done very well for themselves. I’ll say it again I think this is a great signing for the Yankees.

    I think what people fail to realize not only about the Ellsbury signing but about the McCann signing and what other signings are surely to come (ie: 2 starting pitchers). Aside from making the team better, aside from showing everyone that the Steinbrenners are committed to making a championship caliber team again they had to do something to put fans butts in the seats at Yankees Stadium and they need to have people/fans once again tune into the Yes Network. In 2013 lets be frank the Yankees were a hard team to watch and that effected both of the latter 2 points.

    Cashman still has some work to do this winter but he’s off to a very nice start at least from this fans perspective.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:11 AM

      I largely agree. 2013 was nearly unwatchable. I don’t consider myself a spoiled Yankee fan for saying so. If the team decided to take a year to rebuild and improve the team long-term I could get behind the plan. But the team was saying they were stripping down to save the owners some money, right after they built a fancy new stadium, go public money for a disastrous parking lot empire and jacked up prices for tickets and concessions. If the team is printing money, please do not rty to preach frugality.

      I put this signing in the same category as the Rafael Soriano signing. Ellsbury does not really address a need, but he is a good player who upgrades the team. As long as this signing does not preclude the team from making the other improvements they need to make, I am fine with the Steinbrenners throwing as much money as they want at improving the team.

      • anxovies - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:22 PM

        Sabathia; I think it was done out of fear and for leverage with Cano. The fans are restless right now and the fear of empty seats and canceled season tickets required some kind of move for a name player, and Cano’s share of the pie just got smaller. I think they will still sign Cano because other teams are not going to give him $250M. 6-7 years at $28M sounds about right. The salary cap is history this year, maybe next year if the Yankees can bounce back and make the playoffs.

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:21 AM

      the only problem I have with the contract is it is another 7 year contract, not like they don’t have enough of those, I’m not worried so much about the Money, Yankees are doing alright.
      if we make the playoffs and compete in the end I will be happy.

    • spudchukar - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:41 AM

      UYF, mon ami, et al. What I don’t understand about this signing, is how it makes the Yanks much better. Even if Ellsbury succeeds and I see no reason he won’t in the short term, he doesn’t fill greater needs.

      The outfield of Gardner, Ellsbury, and Ichiro, in the new bandbox? That has to be the least powerful outfield in all of Baseball. And it forces Soriano into the DH, a spot that is already overloaded with pinstripe has-beens.

      Sabathia, may rebound somewhat, but he is no longer an Ace of the staff guy. And even if they resign Kuroda, and get Tanaka, they are still have Nova and Who? Anderson? Maybe, but who do they have to trade? It is why Freese isn’t a Yank. They had no one to offer in return.

      Personally, I agree with those who suggest Gardner, should go. Not because of any disabilities, but because of his redundancy. Maybe he could be part of deal for Anderson, but then they will need another outfielder, and they don’t have viable prospects to lure one in a deal, and even the Yanks only have so much cash, unless they choose to subsidize all the other franchises, something they say they don’t want to do.

      Assuming Cano goes elsewhere, they need another second-baseman, cause Kelly isn’t an everyday answer, and his defense is suspect, in an infield that is hardly average. And who is going to play third?

      McCann and Ellsbury certainly add to their talent level, but boy do they still have a lot of work to do, and not that much cash to make it happen. I don’t see how they can do it.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:23 PM

        All I can say is stay tuned. The Yankees may just surprise you and some of the other doubters here. Sure Cashman still has some work to do I’m sure no one knows that more then him and Hal Steinbrenner.

        What I think some people are doing and this is just my opinion is people are looking at the Ellsbury signing in a vacuum. Consider thistake Ellsbury out of the equation for the moment. At the end of the 2014 season every single Yankee outfielder would have been a FA. Would they or even should they have signed yet another 37 year old Beltran for most likely 3 years now and had him as the only Yankee OF’er under contract for 2015? Probably not.

        My friend no one knows if the Ellsbury signing will at some point prove to not be worth it. What I can tell you is these recent signing both McCann and now Ellsbury do not appear to have put a crimp in the Yankees ability to spend money to as they see it improve the team. I also think sometimes fans both Yankees fans and non Yankees fans tend to concentrate on the negative or potential down side of a signing. Let’s see how the rest of the off season and pre season plays out before everyone gets their panties in a twist.

        As I like to say that’s just my opinion, my friend.

      • spudchukar - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:44 PM

        UYF, my friend, you are guilty of projecting here. Never did I suggest that either Ellsbury nor McCann aren’t valuable signings. I just don’t see how the Ellsbury deal solves many problems, and spends a lot of cash needed elsewhere.

        And unless the Yanks exceed the luxury limits, which is their business, and nobody else’s, they will run out of cash before they can secure a 3B, and 2B, and probably an outfielder, and who closes? Who is their other starter, and this assumes they sign both Kuroda and Tanaka?

        Again, by point isn’t questioning Ellsbury’s talent. It is his redundancy, his cost, and the outfield power shortage.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:37 PM

        spudchukar my friend. I didn’t realize I was projecting. I was merely stating my case as I see it for the signing.

        I don’t think there is any doubt the Yankees are probably going to exceed the tax threshold this year if A-Rod doesn’t get suspended for the entire season. But just so you know I have been keeping track of the Yankees payroll so far including both the McCann and Ellsbury signings. And if A-Rod does get suspended the Yankees 2014 payroll for Luxury tax purposes looks like this:
        Teixeria: $22.5MM
        Cano (FA): $24MM
        Jeter $12.8MM
        Reynolds or Uribe (FA) $6MM assuming A-Rod suspended for the entire season
        Gardner $4.5MM estimate from MLBTR
        Soriano $4MM
        Ellsbury $21.8MM
        McCann $17MM
        Sabathia: $24.4MM
        Nova: $2.5MM
        Pineda $.5mm
        Phelps $.6MM
        Tanaka $11MM assuming he gets posted and the Yankees win the bid
        Robertson $5.5MM
        Warren $.6MM
        Cabral $.5MM
        Betances $.5MM
        Claiborne $.5MM
        Kelley $1.4MM
        Set up man (FA) $6.5MM
        Bench 5 below $9.5MM
        Balance of 40 man roster and benefits: $12MM

        All of the above come to just under $189MM. Obviously not a lot of breathing room but it does show the Yankees still have enough money to re-sign Cano for the dollars they originally offered him. They also have enough money to sign both a starting pitcher and a set up man. Of course they can go with an in house option for the set up guy at minimal and use that $6.5MM I’ve allocated above for something else.

        My point is even now and the Yankees still have some bucks to make significant signings.

      • spudchukar - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:57 PM

        I had a lengthy response, but once again the miserable Word Press deleted it, and I refuse to re-post. Sorry, my friend.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 4, 2013 at 3:09 PM

        The outfield of Gardner, Ellsbury, and Ichiro, in the new bandbox? That has to be the least powerful outfield in all of Baseball. And it forces Soriano into the DH, a spot that is already overloaded with pinstripe has-beens.

        In a perfect world it’s Gardner (LF) – Ellsbury (CF) – Soriano (RF) where you can put the two best fielders in the biggest space. However, I don’t recall Soriano ever playing RF, so they may put Gardner in RF (mistake imo). Ichiro/Wells should almost get DFA’d at this point, or at least one should.

        Sabathia, may rebound somewhat, but he is no longer an Ace of the staff guy. And even if they resign Kuroda, and get Tanaka, they are still have Nova and Who? Anderson? Maybe, but who do they have to trade? It is why Freese isn’t a Yank. They had no one to offer in return.

        I hope that Sabathia’s down year in ’13 was due to him essentially missing his entire off-season program from elbow surgery. His fastball has been routinely declining, but his ’12 numbers were still very good. And granted it’s a big if, but a CC/Kuroda/Tanaka/Nova/insert 5th starter is still a really good rotation. It’s not Rays/Cards good, but you don’t have to have all #1’s if they can also re-sign Cano (another big if).

      • spudchukar - Dec 4, 2013 at 4:17 PM

        Yeah, lotta ifs and I still say Soriano is their DH for more than 100 games, and I don’t see how they can re-sign Cano at say 23 and 8, Kuroda at 16, and Tanaka at fifteen, find a closer and third baseman, and not greatly surpass the luxury threshhold.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 4, 2013 at 5:01 PM

        spudchukar my friend. I’ll give you the short answer to your latest comment. They can’t.
        Now having said that why do they have to find all 5 of those players. They really don’t need a closer a decent set up man at 1/2 the price of the closer would serve the purpose. They can as I’ve shown previously sign a relatively inexpensive player for 3rd base such as Reynolds or Uribe or use Nunez on the cheap as for pitching sure they need help there but there is nothing to say they can’t go with either Kuroda OR Tanaka (if he ever gets posted) and and look for a quality mid level starter. A rotation of: CC, Kuroda or Tanaka, Nova, and 2 of the following: Pineda, Phelps, Nuno, Warren or that mid level starter I mentioned. Looks decent enough to me if you assume the Yankees re-sign Cano.

        A starting line up of, in no particular batting order:
        Tex (1st base)
        Cano / Kelly as the BU (2nd base)
        Jeter / Ryan as the BU (SS)
        Reynolds/Uribe or Nunez (3rd base)
        McCann / Romine or Cervelli as BU (Catching)
        Some combination of:
        Gardner/Ellsbury/Soriano/Ichiro or Wells in the Outfield on any given day

        Now I readily admit I’m bias but that seems like a pretty strong line up to me. Is it perfect? NO. Do some things still have to fall into place for that to happen? YES. But it really isn’t as far fetched as it may look.

        Two final comments my friend. First, I know you keep referring to the Yankees being unable to do some things without blowing past the $189MM tax threshold. The biggest obstacle concerning the Yankees desire to stay within the tax threshold for 2014 as has been mentioned is A-Rod’s suspension. It’s uncertainty and or duration. Second, and I’ll quote Hal Steinbrenner “Staying under the tax threshold is a goal NOT a mandate”. And right about now it looks like the Yankees are operating under that guideline.

        Have a good day my friend.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 4, 2013 at 7:56 PM

        Yeah, lotta ifs

        Yeah that’s the big issue right now. A McCann/Ellsbury combination looks a lot better with Cano on the team, as does a rotation of CC/Kuroda/Tanaka/Nova/5th. However without those three FAs, the team might have taken a downgrade or at best, a side grade.

      • spudchukar - Dec 4, 2013 at 9:17 PM

        Yeah, and you can pretty much kiss Tanaka good-bye, with the new posting limits, cause he will get a 100+ deal now.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 5, 2013 at 5:52 AM

        @ spudchukar, my friend you may be right, but I doubt it will go that high. He’s still an unproven commodity. No doubt he will get more now then under what was the old posting system but I do NOT think it will get him more then a guaranteed 6 years / $80MM = $13 to $14MM per +/-

        BTW, there is talk now what what I’ve just recently read that his team may not even post him now because they don’t think the $20MM max posting fee is worth it to them.

        I guess we will see how this all shakes out sooner rather then later now that for all intense purposes the process has been approved by both MLB and NPB. STAY TUNED.

  6. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    I don’t know if “regret” is the right word. Even ARod’s contract, as unfortunate as it is, might not be entirely accurately described as regretful. Sure, they would prefer to void it NOW if they could, but he carried the team to a WS in 2009. Imagine if he is not suspended in 2014 and has a big season helping the team to another WS title. It does not seem that his contract is restricting the team from making other moves. And if they were not paying ARod what would the team have done with that money? They would likely have signed someone else to a similarly unfortunate deal.

    While Ellsbury will certainly be overpaid at some point during this deal (perhaps as soon as year 1) that does not automatically mean the team will regret making it.

    • sportsfan18 - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:48 PM

      Just what do you think a “big” season now is for Arod?

      .264 BA
      18 HR’s
      79 RBI’s
      24 doubles
      127 games played

      Personally, I think that would be a “big” season for him now.

      Not bad for twenty something million!

  7. Jason @ IIATMS - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Regret implies that the deal precludes them from making another move. The collection of albatross deals currently on the Yanks farm merely means that the Yanks are happily running an albatross farm and are OK doing so.

    ARod’s deal, CC’s deal, Teix’s deal, etc. did not stop the Yanks from the Ellsbury deal. What would make anyone think the Ellsbury deal will impact future deals, particularly when those prior-mentioned deals are off the books?

    • Professor Longnose - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:01 PM

      That’s a good point. Of course, anytime the Yankees decide to stick to the salary cap, the old contracts will stop them from signing anyone new–as it did last year.

      Last year–what a waste. Blew off the whole year to get under 189, then didn’t get under 189. We didn’t have to through that!

  8. proudlycanadian - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    Very interesting Baseball Reference comps for Ellsbury. The disappointment factor might come rather early into the contract; however, the Yankees would just go out and overpay the next guy.

  9. anxovies - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    Ellsbury has had 3 injuries that affected his playing time: he collided with Beltre in 2010, and fractured ribs; in 2012, he dislocated his shoulder when the second baseman fell on it during an attempted steal, and; in 2013, he hit a foul ball and fractured his foot. I don’t think he had a history of injuries in the minors. If he stays away from klutzy infielders and wears a guard on his foot he should be OK. I would be more concerned if he had a history of muscle or ligament sprains or tears. Note that Granderson had his hand broken twice by pitches last year and nobody is saying he is injury prone.

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:23 AM

      I agree, he has too many collisions.
      I hope he can play 150.

      • anxovies - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:30 PM

        That’s always a problem with players who play hard. The Sox have the same problem with the muskrat.

      • cackalackyank - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:32 PM

        He will miss more than 12 games. I have no problem predicting that.

    • 18thstreet - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:26 AM

      For some reason, it really bothers me when any player — whether I like him or not — is described as soft. I think these guys play with pain that would keep ordinary people hobbled for a month.

    • twenty1miles - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      Good point in the last sentence.

  10. pastabelly - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    The first season he plays under 100 games.

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:25 AM

      your zen is bad, you have a negative vibe man, stay away!

      • pastabelly - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:50 AM

        Sorry about that. :) Ellsbury is a very good player and this move hurts the Red Sox in 2014 and probably 2015. As a Red Sox fan, I see no good spin on this for the next two years. I also have to laugh at anyone who suggests that Yankee fans should have been satisfied to have Brett Gardner as their CF. Maybe Jackie Bradley becomes a better player than Ells in 2016 and maybe he doesn’t. I don’t mind the Red Sox taking the risk, but outfield doesn’t seem to have the same organizational strength that pitiching, infield, and catcher do. I just hope the Red Sox don’t wind up regretting early on NOT doing something with Ellsbury.

  11. metitometin - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:28 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.

    • twenty1miles - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      Meanwhile Boston had one of the highest payrolls last year. So they obviously bought the WS too.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:56 AM

        They also had at least 9 FAs on that team out of the 19 major players (of the 25 man roster), but let’s not bring that up either.

      • pastabelly - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:02 PM

        The Red Sox payroll was around $150 million, which was about a $25 million reduction from 2012 and about $78 million less than NYY for 2013. The Red Sox are in the second grouping of teams in terms of payroll. The Yankees and Dodgers spend much more than the second grouping of teams that includes Philadephia, Sox, Tigers, Angels, and Rangers. It’s fair to make that distinction.

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:15 PM

      I rather root for the Yankees who buy players like Bernie,Jeter,Mariano, Andy, Posada, Gardner, Hughs, Joba, that win championships.
      I could be stuck with team like the Pirates who make the playoffs once in 25 years and a
      owner who writes huge bonus checks for himself rather then sign free agents and rips
      off the fan base.

      good job Yankee ownership!

    • thepoolshark - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      They have money to shop on Fifth Avenue and Rodeo Drive, but their taste is horrific and most teams wouldn’t be caught dead in their outfits. They have expensive ugly Minks sitting on the bench, fat pitchers already worn out from carrying 25 million around in his wallet apparently, 40 year old outfielder who can’t hit a hr in a Little League Park, the Evil Monster himself at 3rd base who may or may not even play, with no backup, a 1st baseman injured and sliding downhill fast, a 2nd baseman they can’t afford because of the aforementioned bloated, aging, and over-valued toys……and one of the worst looking pitching staffs, the lifeblood of any playoff hopeful, ever to grace the Bronx.

      If you think they are trying to buy a World Series, you may be right. But with their captains of the ship looking like drunken sailors , where is the harm? They are keeping America employed and comically entertained at the same time. I watch this 21st century Titanic heading for the iceberg and laugh at their futility, since nobody is getting hurt except their ex-Roiders and their wallets. But hey, it’s only money.

  12. 8man - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    Dear Yankees:

    Thank you for over paying one of our departed, aging, and oft injured super stars for such a great year and a Championship. Please let him attend the ring ceremony.


    Red Sox Nation

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:18 PM

      you are just bitter about Rocket and Boggs, you can have them back if you want, really go ahead, we showed them how to win so they are quite happy now.

      merry x-mas!

    • anxovies - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:30 PM

      Ever notice that big time FAs never go from the Yankees to the Sox? I guess it’s like when you lose your money. You might have to move out of the penthouse but you do all that you can to avoid moving to the slums.

      • 8man - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:19 PM

        They mostly go to Tampa Bay or Kansas City. Well, some get suspended for 211 games.

    • jfk69 - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      Don’t pretend this doesn’t hurt. We ain’t the Dodgers. Who saved your team from a decade of disaster.
      By the time you play in the World Series again,those scraggly beards will be longer and a whole lot whiter.
      Merry Christmas
      Two more lumps of coal for you Southie

  13. stex52 - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    Okay, I have a question. Are we playing zero-sum game here? How much did the Yankees want Ellsbury, and how much did they just not want the Sox to have him?

    Just curious.

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      I always noticed how Ellsbury would look at Jeter in his crisp pinstripe jersey and dark blue Yankee fitted, you could see how Ells eyes sparkled as he watched Jeter move in his uniform
      with his clean shaven face, we will teach him how to wear the pinstripes, it will be a fine day when he finally receives his own, what a fine day for this young man.

      • anxovies - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:33 PM

        Yeah. And Jeter can teach him about gift baskets and personal chefs, something that would never even occur to a Red Sox. They make their women eat burgers and do the Walk of Shame in the morning.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 4, 2013 at 5:18 PM

        C’mon man, fried chicken and beer. Know your memes.

  14. xpensivewinos - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    If Ellsbury does over the next seven years what he did the past seven years, he’s still not worth 153 million bucks.

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:14 PM

      Red Sox are animals, animals I tell you and they don’t shave their face either!

  15. tfbuckfutter - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    I think they will feel a bit of regret the first time he missed 8 games after stubbing a toe.

    Oh, I mean after someone steps on his toe causing a freak injury that obviously won’t ever happen again.

    • cackalackyank - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      I have been trying to find a way to explain what injury prone means. Your comment may help. It basically means that if there is a stupid way to get hurt you find it. Or it finds you.

      • tfbuckfutter - Dec 4, 2013 at 5:05 PM

        It’s really easy if you are trying to explain it to a Jewish friend.

        You say he’s either a schlemiel or a schlamazel, and ask which they think would be more accurate.

        Then you can sing the Laverne and Shirley song.

  16. bigdaddy44 - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    P.T. Barnum once said “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Scott Boras proves it again and again. Good thing there are suckers running the Dodgers to eat the contracts that the Red Sox’ former sucker-in-chief Theo took on!

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:20 PM

      you win the championship and you still hanging on the Yankees jock strap, buy yourself a dark blue Yankee fitted and join the team with the most championships, we just win.

  17. 8man - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Do you mean the pre-steroid Rocket or post-steroid Rocket? How many other guys in that Yankee clubhouse were juicing?

    Bitter? No. It’s gonna be a great Christmas! Getting the 2013 World Series DVD collection. Can’t wait to watch that on Christmas night.

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:24 PM

      hope you enjoy it for 80 years, that’s how long you average between WS, excluding the last three,you have a lot of catching up to do to be in the Yankee Universe, there is NO comparison!

      • tfbuckfutter - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:31 PM

        You umm….you kind of suck terribly at math.

      • tfbuckfutter - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:32 PM

        And history.

  18. yournuts - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    I don’t see Cano going to Seattle or anywhere else except back to the Bronx. In Seattle Cano would not get 1/10th the attention he receives in New York. He would miss out on all the endorsements and hanging with the pop couture icons that he has become used to. I see a reunion with the Yankees in the near future. Don’t worry to much Yankee fans, if we lost Robbie, it would hurt his brand financially much more than it would hurt the Yankee’s.

  19. anxovies - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    I don’t understand why everybody assumes that Soriano will DH. He passed the eye test for me in LF last year, which is a hard field to play in Yankee Stadium. He has a career 12.4 UZR/150 as an outfielder (for those of you who believe in that stuff) and had 22 assists last year from the OF, second highest in the league. He made 6 errors in 134 games in the OF last year, which is 1 less than Gardner made in 2011, playing in 156 games. He would be much more productive in RF than Ichiro, who I think is spent as a player and may be released. In a White Sox game last year Harrelson was talking about how hard he had worked on his defense while he was with the Cubs. I think he got a rep as a bad fielder when he switched from second base (probably self-inflicted because of his resistance to the change) and people have been too dumb or lazy to re-evaluate.

  20. sbmcintosh36 - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    They signed him for nearly exactly what was predicted for him when FA began it was 7/150 so 3 mil off ,I’m amazed at how now it’s an insane contract the media will do anything to create a story.
    Yeah the last 3 years of the deal probably won’t be to great but you pay for previous work not what you assume the player will do down the road so it is what it is.
    Robbie better wake up soon or he’ll end up in the free agent graveyard in Seattle..

    • jfk69 - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:20 PM


  21. sidelineshot - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    One challenge that the Yankees will have is rotating dudes in the DH slot.
    The DH will be a merry go around with Jeter, A-Roid, Tex, Soriano, Wells, etc. Sounds like the DL will serve as storage for the Yanks.

    • cackalackyank - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      Well, it seems Ellsbury helps fill in the DL about 80 games a season on average.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 4, 2013 at 3:14 PM


      He’s not DH’ing, not sure why people are bringing this up. Wells should get DFA’d and Soriano will start. That’s 3/5 people you mentioning will be rotating in the DH spot.

  22. jdillydawg - Dec 4, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    They’ll figure it out probably around June next season.

  23. malvord13 - Dec 4, 2013 at 5:19 PM


  24. bigwii - Dec 4, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    I don’t understand why people think Sox fans are mad he left and are jealous he went to the Yankees. We’re disappointed he chose the Yankees of all teams but I’m glad he left. And, no I’m not just saying that think about it. He wanted way too much money for a 30 year-old who has only been healthy for 2 full seasons. Yeah he’s fast and steals bases but that is NOT worth 157 million dollars for 7 years.

    Especially since they have Jackie Bradley ready to take over who is just as fast and good on defense and is only 23. They also have a lot of money to spend elsewhere like finding a middle of the lineup hitter and more help at third base and first base. They also need to get more pitching depth. So…yeah he went to the Yankees, but they overpaid and I don’t know why either just the Yankees being the Yankees. They haven’t learned that overspending hasn’t worked out so well lately just ask Sox, Angels, Blue Jay, Marlin, and Dodger Fans.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 4, 2013 at 8:03 PM

      They haven’t learned that overspending hasn’t worked out so well lately just ask Sox, Angels, Blue Jay, Marlin, and Dodger Fans

      Since the Yanks missed the playoffs in ’08, they won the WS (’09, last FA binge btw), lost two ALCS’s and lost in the ALDS. To lump them in with teams like the Angels/Marlins/Blue Jays who have one playoff appearance combined in that frame is a bit disingenuous.

  25. disgracedfury - Dec 4, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    Those players mentioned like Albert Pujols and Ken Griffey are guys who had 10+years experience and best years were behind them.Ellsbury didn’t break out until 2011 and unlike those guys who broke out before 25 will be 36 when that deal is done.

    All those players contracts like A-Rod,Pujols and Griffey were signed until there were 40.

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