Yesterday, I posted an article saying that the New York Yankees should pursue Carlos Beltran when free agency hits. Another big name that they should not go after also plays the outfield, but for their archrivals, the Boston Red Sox, and this player is also the second biggest name on the unemployment list — Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury is a very talented player, who is great defensively as well as on the base paths, and can also handle the bat. But there are many reasons why the Yanks should stay away from him.
First of all, Ellsbury’s agent is Scott Boras, who always tries to make the biggest splash with the biggest names when his clients are looking for new deals. Boras has been saying that Ellsbury is better than his former teammate, who warranted a seven-year $142-million deal, Carl Crawford. Right there is enough incentive not to go after him — the Yanks simply can’t spend that type of money on an outfielder, even one of that caliber. In addition, Ellsbury is also injury-prone, playing just 384 games in the last four years, in which he made over 135 appearances in only one of the years; that’s just under 60 percent of the games in a four-year span. The Yankees cannot afford to put $150+ million in a player that can’t perform 80 percent of the time, especially with the injuries that befell them this year and can’t be overlooked, as an elderly team will be one year older in 2014.
The final reason to not speak to Boras about Ellsbury is because they already have a player almost identical to him in Brett Gardner. They both have electrifying speed, both are left-handed batters, yet Gardner is far more durable and over $15 million cheaper. Ellsbury still has the higher career batting average by 29 points, but that is way overcompensated by their projected salaries.
Ellsbury might be a sexy name to contemplate in the offseason, but the Yankees do not need to invest in a player whose qualities they already have with another. They have more important holes to fill, most noticeably being in their starting rotation.