News broke earlier today that the New York Yankees signed outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year, $153 million deal. This lucrative signing helped the former Boston Red Sox player accomplish the goal of topping Carl Crawford’s seven-year, $142 million deal signed a few years ago. Whether it helps the Yankees, however, is a different story.
The Bronx Bombers are clearly looking to bounce back from a season in which they missed the playoffs for the second time in the last 19 years, and the moves they’ve made so far are all with the aim of winning as soon as possible. The re-signing of Derek Jeter and manager Joe Girardi, as well as the recent acquisitions of both Ellsbury and Brian McCann will surely extend the Yankees’ championship hunt, but they could hurt the franchise in the long-run.
The Yankees have no impact players in their minor league system and despite their initial intentions of staying under the luxury tax, it seems like they will not do so. With the team also in the mix to re-sign Robinson Cano and to bid for Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, all signs are pointing to a spending spree from New York.
Ellsbury is already 30-years old and will be contracted until his age-37 season. Even though he is no liability on the offensive side of the ball, he’s known for his outstanding speed and defense, which are exactly the two things that fade away quickest with age.
There’s no doubt that he was the top free agent outfielder on the market this offseason, but the Yankees are making the wrong move in giving him such an expensive deal when his main assets will start to disappear only a few years into the contract. It was surely a nice step in the short term, but it could be a move the franchise regrets sooner rather than later.