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A Quick Look at Jacoby Ellsbury’s Yankee Career

On November 20, the Yankees released Jacoby Ellsbury in a move that many fans more than likely did not see coming, including myself. In addition, they designated for assignment both Greg Bird and Nestor Cortes, Jr.

Ellsbury’s signing will go down as the worst signing in Yankee history, as well as one of the worst in Major League Baseball history. Even when he initially signed the contract, it was too much of an overpay. Ellsbury’s best season was 2011 when he won the AL MVP award, and he had yet to duplicate anything close to those numbers.

Two important events went Ellsbury’s way in 2013. First, he was a big contributor to the Red Sox 2013 World Series win. He began a rally in Game 6 that eventually gave Boston their third ring in nine years. Second, the Yankees were looking to make a big splash. Robinson Cano left the Bronx for Seattle, which put a lot of pressure on Brian Cashman to bring in some other talents from free agency. In addition to Ellsbury, Brian McCann signed a five-year pact, Carlos Beltran signed a three-year deal, and Masahiro Tanaka was signed after his 24-0 season in Japan in 2013 to a seven-year contract. The 2014 season was also Derek Jeter’s final season, so the Yanks tried to send him out with a bang.

Looking back on Ellsbury’s Yankee career is actually quite interesting. His worst season with the Yanks was in 2015 where he finished the season hitting .257. Ellsbury started the season hitting .324 until he went down with a knee sprain, sending him to the disabled list. His stats at the plate were not the same at all, as his average dropped all the way down to .224 after he returned from his injury.

Ellsbury constantly hit around .260 his Yankee career and did a fine job of commanding center field. When he was on the field, he made some good contributions. The duo leadoff group of Ellsbury and Brett Gardner gave the Yankees two speedsters to work with. If both of these players got on base, they were always threatening to run. The biggest problem surrounding Ellsbury was the fact that he did not play in a single game in 2018 or 2019, and questions are still surrounding when and if he will be able to play during the 2020 season.

Ellsbury was released from his contract with one year remaining and an additional mutual option with a buyout clause. Although the release will cost the Yankees a little over $26 million in dead cap space, it gives them another young option to use in center field. With Estevan Florial being selected to the 40-man roster, his time in the Bronx could begin this upcoming season.

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