Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Reaction To Signing Jacoby Ellsbury

Last night's news, that the Yankees had signed Jacoby Ellsbury, had pretty much come out of the blue for me. Even though the team was interested in signing an outfielder, there was no way I thought it would be for 7+ years. And I figured they were looking for more of a power guy, such as Carlos Beltran. Not a top of the lineup guy like Ellsbury. I mean, they have Brett Garder, who is pretty close to being the same exact player as Jacoby.

"Now that I'm a Yankee, it's time to sign up for Dollar Shave Club."

So after a night to sleep on things, what do I think of it?

First of all, it's clear that the Yankees are not taking a hard line with the $189 million payroll thing. Even if Alex Rodriguez is suspended for the entire 2014 season, in order to fill all the holes on the team with good players, the Yankees may go over that number. I'm happy to see that. The Yankees are in line to make a lot more money by putting a good team on the field, than they would save by getting under the Luxury Tax threshold.*

*I don't know that for sure, but as a fan I don't care about the money. So there.

The Yankees are apparently still going to try to sign Robinson Cano, acquire pitcher or two, and not trade Brett Gardner. While I believe the first couple of things, I think the talk of not trading Gardy is just lip service. Of course they aren't going to say they are looking to deal away Brett. Why make that proclamation at this point? We already know that Cashman can be tight lipped, so we shouldn't take what he says to heart.

Getting back to the reason for this article, I initially didn't think Ellsbury was worth that much money. The average annual value of the contract is a bit under $22 million, which will make him the 9th highest paid player in Major League Baseball. But is he the 9th best player?

In terms of fWAR, Jacoby ranked 13th in MLB. So while the technical answer to that question is "no", when you look at the players in front of him on the list you should start to change your mind.

Mike Trout was the top player in MLB, followed by Andrew McCutchen, Josh Donaldson, Carlos Gomez, Miguel Cabrera, Matt Carpenter, Evan Longoria, Chris Davis, Paul Goldschmidt, Manny Machado, Joey Votto, and Robinson Cano.

Trout, McCutchen, Donaldson, Carpenter, Davis, Goldschmidt, and Machado would probably be in for bigger contracts than Ellsbury got were they free agents this offseason.

While the average annual value of Cabrera's deal is less than Jacoby's, Miggy will get paid $22 million in 2014 and 2015 (the final two seasons of his contract). If he were to be a free agent this season, he surely would get a contract that rivals ARod's.

Evan Longoria left a lot of money on the table when he signed his extension with the Rays. According to Fangraphs, over his six year career Evan's been worth $27 million a season. While Evan's highest paid season will be in 2022, when he'll make $19.5 million.

"This isn't the right place to think about it, but man... I should have gotten a lot more money."

The AAV of Joey Votto's contract with the Reds is the only one that is actually higher than Ellsbury's. Well, except for after Cano finally signs a contract for 8 or more years.

What it comes down to is Jacoby's health. But I think it's wrong to say that Ellsbury is an injury risk. Sure, if you just look at the fact he's missed around 300 regular season games in his seven-year career, then I can understand being concerned. But you have to take into consideration the reasons for him being on the DL.

In 2010 Ellsbury missed all but 18 games due to fracturing four of his ribs. That injury came when he crashed into Adrian Beltre.

In 2012 Ellsbury missed 70 games due to a shoulder injury, which he suffered while trying to take out Rays shortstop Reid Brignac on a double-play attempt.

Last season Ellsbury missed 16 games after fouling a ball off of his foot, and trying to play through the pain.

Right there you have 238 missed games that could have easily been avoided. See, this isn't a case of somebody being weak and prone to getting hurt. This is a case of a guy that's played so hard that he's hurt himself badly a few times. Jacoby doesn't need to be coddled, he needs to just tone it down a bit. That's something that comes with experience, just like a starting pitcher learning how to pace themselves to be effective for more than a few innings a game.

The only real concern involving Jacoby Ellsbury has to do with his base-stealing ability. He's stolen an average of 55 bases per 162 games, which is where much of Jacoby's overall value comes from. It's rare that a player is able to remain that big of a stolen-base threat into his mid 30s, and the Yankees will have Jacoby around through his age 36 season. The only hope for the Yankees that Ellsbury is still a top player during his last few years in pinstripes, is for him to boost his power output to make up for less stolen bases. Which is something players like Curtis Granderson have learned to do.

While I'm not happy with the Yankees signing Ellsbury to a seven, or possibly eight, year contract. I don't think it will necessarily be the disaster that some fans think it will be.

Don't worry, guys. It's not that bad.


  1. BRYAN : Nice piece of writing. You have done your homework.

    Unlike the media circus in NYC this morning. More than half of which, are Mets fans.
    This burns their butts, and they target this signing, with a bias. They have taken Ellsbury' number
    of injured days, and they want you to think he will only play every other week.
    You destroyed their madness. You were clear, and to the point.

    Ellsbury is not perfect, but he is very good. And, now he is ours.
    Waiting for the next chapter of this off season.
    Take care.

    1. He just read what I posted on Twitter last night lol

  2. THIS IS A...blogging breathalyzer test.........ready ?
    Is Adam Dunn...aka " Big Donkey " he a good fit for the Yankees ?
    All those home runs ? Plays 1st, LF, DH....keep breathing into the tube, please.
    607 plate appearances, and only 189 k. Not bad ? Only strikes out 33% of the time. He's available.
    So, what do you think ?

    1. If we entertained the idea of Granderson then why not right?


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)