|Artist's rendering of new Yankees' logo|
The Yankees reported signing of Jacoby Ellsbury to a 7-year, $153 million deal should be the end of the line for Cashman. Forget for a moment that the Yankees have just agreed to pay $21 million a season at a position -- outfielder -- where they already have too many players. The Yankees are lavishing this outlandish sum on a 29-year old player coming off another season in which he failed to stay healthy. In fact, Ellsbury has only played one full season in the last 4 years, missing an average of 66 games per season over that span.
Coming off an MVP-worthy 2011, Ellsbury separated his shoulder and was a shell of himself when he returned for the remainder of 2012. He managed to appear in 134 games this past season, but didn't come close to producing at an all-star level. (And if you were curious, 2011 was the only year Ellsbury made an All-Star team.)
Signing Ellsbury also means that Brett Gardner will not only be displaced in center field, but more than likely in the leadoff spot, as well. And speaking of Gardner, would you rather pay $21 million for a player with speed and .781 OPS, or perhaps $5 or 6 million for a player with speed and a .760 OPS?
I took the news in stride when the news broke about the Brian McCann signing. Even at $85 million, McCann is still a major improvement at a position of weakness. But now what happens to the $189-million threshold? I know the Yankees missed the playoffs, and when that happens, the alarm bells sound and all rational thought goes out the window. Yet between McCann and now Ellsbury, plus all the money already tied up in Tex, CC, Jeter and Co., how does Robinson Cano fit in? Does the Ellsbury signing mean the Yankees are wiping their hands of Cano and his demands? Or will they just be content to cough up another $200-million payroll?
Either way, I just can't get past this Ellsbury deal. Overpriced, injury-prone, nearly 30, and penciled into a position-glut, this may just become the bust that pushes Brian Cashman over the top and out the door. I agree, it would be long overdue.