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Yankees: Jacoby Ellsbury to Seattle? – The time has come today

The Yankees, ever since signing Jacoby Ellsbury to a gazillion dollar contract following the 2013 season, have rued the day they made that decision. Ellsbury, for his part, may feel the same. But a move to Seattle could be in the making that would satisfy everyone.

The Yankees, like all major league franchises, win some and lose some when it comes to signing free agents who appear on the market each offseason. This winter, for instance, teams will be bidding on the services of the following highlighted players plus adequate and proven major league talented players in the second level of potential signings.

It’s a crapshoot business, and the bottom line is you never know what you are getting. Who’s the guy in the list above who is just looking for a big payday? Who’s the guy who has been nursing an injury he hasn’t told his team about? Who’s the guy with a recalcitrant agent who no one likes to deal with? And who’s the sleeper in the list who is just on the cusp of reaching his full potential, the one who will be the prize of the 2018 season?


Jacoby Ellsbury had a career year for the Boston Red Sox in 2013. His stats prove it. And based on that, the Yankees didn’t make a mistake; they just overreacted to the hype put out there by Steve Boras. Who would know that come to the 2017 offseason, Ellsbury would have no place on the team going forward. He knows it. The fans know it, and the team knows it.

Jacoby Ellsbury and the roster logjam

Hence, the obvious. What to do about it. How do you find a team that desperately needs a center fielder with a high price tag? Mmm….but maybe, according to Jon Heyman, the Yankees have found a suitor in the Seattle Mariners. And depending on how a deal is sliced with the Yankees eating some money, both sides can benefit if the deal reaches fruition.

Heyman reports the possibility of a deal, providing no details and only saying that there is a discussion between the two teams. He’s usually good for this kind of thing, and fans of the Yankees should be heartened if what he says is true. Ellsbury, who noticeably did not receive an at-bat in the ALCS, has long been a non-entity on the Yankees following several disappointing seasons in the Pinstripes.

Competition is everywhere in the Yankees outfield in 2018. Aaron Judge and Brett Gardner (at least for one more season) hold the corners. From there, wrap yourself around Aaron Hicks, Billy McKinney, who is excelling the Arizona Fall League, and Clint Frazier, and you begin to wonder who’s out and who’s in.

If Brian Cashman can swing this deal, it will relieve a lot of pressure not only on the composition of the Yankees 40-man roster, but it will also allow the opportunity for the Yankees new manager, Mickey Callaway to exercise more flexibility in determining who are “his guys” and who are not.

These are small things that develop in the offseason which lead to fruition and big things when the season begins. Joe Girardi had to deal with a decision every day as to whether or not he put Ellsbury,  the $23 million man in his lineup. Sometimes it worked out when he did, but more often than not the Yankees were hurt by his inclusion, except in September when Ellsbury displayed a resurgence of sorts. And that is the hope of the Yankees as other teams look at Jacoby Ellsbury as not “washed up,” but instead as a player who only needs a change of scenery to excel.

The suddenly luxury tax-conscious Yankees and in particular principle owner, Hal Steinbrenner, will need to “eat” a portion of the money owed to Ellsbury in any deal that is made. But with the crop of Baby Bombers still making the major league minimum or less than $500,000 in 2018, the time, if ever there is going to be a time, to admit defeat with the Jaoby Ellsbury experiment and move on.


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