This week, center fielder and outstanding leadoff hitter of the Boston Red Sox, Jacoby Ellsbury left to sign a seven-year, $153 million contract with the New York Yankees. A lot of Boston fans are absolutely livid with Ellsbury heading to New York, but let’s face it, this was bound to happen and the writing was on the wall for a long, long time.
Ellsbury is a very talented player and he may be the best leadoff hitter in the MLB. He is a very good player who had one great season. He contributed significantly to two World Series championships in Boston. However, it is very obvious that he never felt completely comfortable in Boston and was just basically doing his time until he hit free agency.
He never seemed to really fit in with the team and basically did his own thing most of the time. To his credit, he always seemed professional — but detached. I can’t think of many instances where you saw Ellsbury outside of Fenway Park. One donut commercial comes to mind and that’s it. From the beginning, it seemed destined that he would not finish his career in Boston.
He turned down every single contract extension offer and was just waiting until the end of his seventh year with the Red Sox. No matter what, he was going to the team that was going to make him the biggest offer. It just so happened that it was the Yankees that did so.
But come on, how many of us have left a job for a better paying one? And if you haven’t done it, haven’t you at least thought about it and dreamed about someday doing what Ellsbury did? It’s just business. That is how Ellsbury saw the Red Sox. They were just the team that happened to draft him. No real connection. Nothing personal, just business. He is basically a mercenary who happened to spend seven years with the same team.
Boston will be fine. Jackie Bradley Jr. defensively is the same as Ellsbury, if not a little better due to a stronger arm. He could develop into a better power hitter than Ellsbury. Bradley isn’t the elite baserunning threat that Ellsbury is and that is the biggest difference between the two. It might take Bradley a little while to grow into the position, but he will. He seems very confident and assured of his abilities. His baseball intelligence is also reportedly in the stratosphere.
So, let’s thank Ellsbury for helping bring another championship to Boston. Respect him for the decision he made and send him on his way. Don’t boo him the first time he comes back to Fenway. Give him a little appreciation for everything he did. The Ellsbury era is over. I’m sorry to see him go, but I can’t fault him for the decision he made. This fan won’t be a hater.