The New York Yankees finally made it official and parted ways with frequently injured outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
The New York Yankees career of Jacoby Ellsbury started with plenty of hope and promise. The former All-Star with the rival Boston Red Sox was considered amongst Major League Baseball’s best center fielders with a unique blend of speed and power.
The Yankees put up big money to land Ellsbury signing him to a seven-year, $153 million contract. The deal was done to replace another big name in Robinson Cano, who decided to take big money with the Seattle Mariners. The contract in 2014 looked promising as Ellsbury was a productive player moving to third in the batting order behind Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter, who was in the middle of a retirement celebration.
Following the 2014 season, things began to unravel as knee injuries, concussions, and various other lower body problems became frequent on the Yankees IL. The former MVP finalist spoke about these problems with NJ.com two seasons ago entering training camp under then-new manager Aaron Boone and trying to find his way back.
"“Every year you come in and compete. Never one year has the lineup been made already in my tenure in the big leagues. Everybody comes in and works hard. There’s not a lineup made up yet.”"
"I always go into the offseason, trying to improve, trying to get better, even after my best years. There’s always things you work on. There’s always adjustments to your workouts. You’re looking at your swing. You’re making adjustments. That’s what you do as a professional. That’s what people who are successful at other jobs do, so that’s approach. That’s how I go about it. I’m always looking to get better no matter what type of season I’ve had or how people viewed it. I always try to be the best possible player that I can do.”"
The words of Ellsbury were very hopeful heading into the 2018 season instead of was more disappointment as another young core of players led by Aaron Judge made him a distant memory. Ellsbury became a nonfactor in come back conversations and was an eyesore on the team’s budget.
The biggest takeaway from his painful Yankees career is the risk of signing a player to big contracts. The player could appear worth the long-time investment, but you’re actually setting the franchise up for turmoil is he cannot perform.
The Yankees moving on early from Ellsbury was the right move but still a black eye on general manager Brian Cashman’s record.