The Big Winner in the New York Yankees Signing Jacoby Ellsbury is...

Published: Dec 03, 2013 22:20pm EST
By Lance Rinker, Managing Editor for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Dec 03, 2013 @ 10:20pm EST


The New York Yankees said they weren’t going to wait around forever for Robinson Cano and it appears they meant it as hearts break everywhere in Boston. The Yankees said they weren’t paying Cano $200MM and stayed firm on their $170MM offer, gaining no real traction in negotiations with him. Instead, they are now handing that money over to Jacoby Ellsbury by signing him to a $153MM contract over seven years, with an option for an eighth year which could bring the total value of the deal to $169MM.

Not only is this the ninth richest contract in baseball history, it also beats out the contract that Carl Crawford signed with the Boston Red Sox in 2011 by roughly $12MM.

Ellsbury very likely took the best deal offered to him on the open market and the Yankees are betting on the left-handed hitting center fielder to transform into some version of Curtis Granderson with a much better contact rate and defensive skills. The fact that left-handed hitters do perform so well in Yankee Stadium is of great benefit to Ellsbury, and the Yankees, because it’s likely the only stadium he could spend half his games in and contribute enough offensively over the next four years to make this contract not seem like a mistake.

Left-handed hitters on the roster managed a .283/.349/.436 batting line at Yankee Stadium with 66 doubles (22 more than RHH), 7 triples (5 more than RHH), and 43 home runs (11 more than RHH). The platoon splits are a real thing at that ballpark and Ellsbury should greatly benefit from it.

The big winner of this trade isn’t the New York Yankees though. While Ellsbury got paid, a lot, I wouldn’t even consider him the big winner here. The biggest winner among the three is actually the Boston Red Sox organization.

Let’s be clear.

Jacoby Ellsbury and the 23.7 wins above replacement he produced for the Red Sox is worth an estimated $109MM, according to Fangraphs. What that tells us is that he has been worth that amount of money over his career, and would have been worth a contract of that value through the 2013 season. In 2013 alone Fangraphs estimates that he would have been worth $28.9MM on the free agent market based on his performance.

What the Yankees are paying, and hoping, for is that Ellsbury is able to exceed the value he provided to the Red Sox during the first seven years of his career over the next seven. For a speedy outfielder that is 30-years old already and doesn’t have much in the way of natural, legitimate power that could prove to be difficult.

The Red Sox are the big winners in all of this because they won’t be overpaying for a player that may have two more five-win seasons left in him before he starts his decline phase, much like Carl Crawford is doing now, or Johnny Damon before him, and the majority of all other speedy type outfielders before him. It’s the natural cycle of things and Jacoby Ellsbury is likely no different and the Red Sox are likely giving themselves silent high-fives for not falling into that trap again. 


Comments (12)

  • Lance Rinker   Dec 8, 2013 @ 12:59PM
    I agree that there is definitely a certain amount of inflation going on as it pertains to contracts and what players are getting, but this was still an overpay for Ellsbury and the Yankees will be hit with another contract by an aging/hurt player in three years or so.

    As far as using WAR as a metric to measure player value in some aspects, that's part of the analysis. -

  • Anonymous   Dec 7, 2013 @ 08:24PM
    Cashman was feeding the YES ratings, subscriptions were in a free fall and ticket sales had dropped by 20 to 30% The Sox were under the same pressure with NESN when they signed Crawford, these signings were driven by big cable media and made little economic or long term baseball sense. Ironically, the Dodgers under pressure to build a sexy team for the Fox West contract, baled the Sox out by trading for Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez. The Sox, given a second chance, embraced fiscal discipline and a World Series. -

  • Anonymous   Dec 7, 2013 @ 07:10PM
    This Yankees team is going absolutely nowhere with their PATHETIC PITCHING STAFF. Look at the playoffs last year and you will see the one constant for all teams was good pitching and the Yankees have none of it -

  • Anonymous   Dec 7, 2013 @ 06:58PM
    This Yankees team is going absolutely nowhere with their PATHETIC PITCHING STAFF. Look at the playoffs last year and you will see the one constant for all teams was good pitching and the Yankees have none of it -

  • Anonymous   Dec 7, 2013 @ 06:22PM
    Ever heard of inflation, douchebag? These over simplified economic analyses based on WAR are laughable. Sports bloggers should stick to just that - blogging about actual sports. Leave the analysis to people with brains. -

  • Anonymous   Dec 7, 2013 @ 04:44PM

  • Anonymous   Dec 7, 2013 @ 04:04PM
    The Yankees have money to burn so what to they care if they over-pay? I agree that Ellsbury is a bit of a risk considering his injury history. The legs of base stealers begin to break down much sooner than power-hitters. The new Yankees will be more competitive next year just based on the fact they will have replacements for the guys that never really played much last year like Granderson. Kuroda is also likely headed for a decline as well as CC Sabthia. Bottom line the Yankees with Ellsbury and Beltran will have a legitimate shot at another World Series championship over the next two years, but after that the money is wasted. The Yankees continue to get older and just don't have the youth as of now. Compare them with the Cardinals and Red Sox that continue to move players through their systems.

    The Red Sox were very smart not to overpay for Ellbusry with minor leagueres on the rise like Jackie Bradley Jr. coming up. The Yankees are a bit desperate to get "back in the game." -

  • Anonymous   Dec 7, 2013 @ 03:32PM
    you suck -

  • Anonymous   Dec 7, 2013 @ 03:25PM
    Can't compare Cano and Ellsbury. Cano has serious power, which is much easier to maintain with age when compared to other skillsets like speed. -

  • Anonymous   Dec 7, 2013 @ 03:19PM
    So then the Yankees made a great move by not over paying for Cano who will be 41 at the end of his contract. -

  • Anonymous   Dec 7, 2013 @ 03:19PM
    I couldn't agree with you more. i'm very sorprise the Yankees gave him such a big type of contract. He's a gap to gap hitter with some Pop, but the he best wapon is his speed which will decline after his 34th or 35th birthday -

  • Anonymous   Dec 7, 2013 @ 03:08PM
    ja ja ja! That's the best humoristic article I've read in a very long time. ja ja ja -

Lance Rinker
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