The last time Jacoby Ellsbury featured in the New York Yankees starting lineup was during the 2017 ALCS. The former Boston Red Sox outfielder had one solid season in the Bronx, his first with the Yankees in 2014. He hit .271 with 16 homers and 70 RBIs, capping a strong start to his career with his former rival.
The New York Yankees finally did what needed to be done:
However, the Yankees cut Ellsbury on Wednesday, officially marking him in the “bust” category after spending a lucrative $153 million for four years of average play.
During 2015-17, Ellsbury hit .261/.331/.372 overall, and he missed time in each of those seasons. Maybe it was a conspiracy with the Red Sox to waste away Yankee money, or it was Ellsbury’s fragile body that couldn’t take the organizational perfection the Bombers demand.
Last month, general manager Brian Cashman was vague on the return of the veteran outfielder, stating:
“It’s hard to say based on how things have played out,” Cashman said at the time. “Right now, he’s not someone in a position health-wise where I can answer anything in the affirmative.”
This was essentially Ellsbury’s death-wish. Having missed all of the 2018-19 seasons, Jacoby was a liability and didn’t deserve a third shot at returning to the starting lineup. The Yankees cutting him would have made more sense if they could recoup any of his lost $26 million from 2020 in insurance.
His seven-year contract with the Yanks locked him into 1,134 possible regular-season games, in which he only appeared in 520. As one of the biggest busts in baseball history, the Yankees now have to consider long-term contracts differently, especially when considering veteran ball-players.
While insurance is the priority here, Ellsbury’s contract includes no insurance policy for the final two years on his deal. Cashman decided to give the roster spot to a young, healthy option, which will ultimately benefit the team in the long-term.