Ellsbury spent the first seven-years of his career with the Boston Red Sox, earning two All-Star appearances during his time with the Yankees’ rival. Since his signing with New York, he’s played ‘satisfactory’ in four of five seasons, despite seeing his effectiveness drop off considerably.
Jacoby missed the entirety of 2018 with an injury, allowing several other players to supplant him and theoretically make him useless. He will likely play a rotational role in 2019 if he isn’t traded – I wouldn’t expect any team to pick up his $21 million per-season contract. He has three years remaining on his deal.
The Yankees have a team option in 2021, which he will be owed $21 million. Expect the team to pay the $5 million buy-out and move on from the inconsistent outfielder.
Who do the New York Yankees have in the outfield currently?
The Bombers currently feature Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Hicks in the outfield. Those three players will likely be the starters come next season, with Ellsbury rotating in to keep the lineup healthy.
If Ellsbury can somehow maintain his health, nobody really knows what type of player he is at this point in his career. He was sub-par between 2015-17, recording 1.1, 1.6, and 1.7 fWAR each season. His defense was solid, but his hitting was lackluster and his base running was decent.
At 35 years-old, Jacoby hasn’t faced live pitching in an entire year, and it will undoubtedly take time for him to regain his form. The Yankees are on the hook for serious cap-hit, but also have Clint Frazier on the roster to assist in helping the outfield maintain their quality.
What are the options?
Getting rid of Ellsbury seems nearly impossible, as nobody is going to pick up his contract for the quality his provides. The Yankees are just going to have to wait this one out.