After not starting Sunday and Tuesday, Jacoby Ellsbury started Wednesday afternoon in the Yankees’ 9-5 victory over the Reds at Yankee Stadium. He figured he would be playing on a day game after a night game, so he had his break.
No word if he starts most of the four-game series this weekend against the Rays in the Bronx. The Yankees won’t comment about the beleaguered Yankees centerfielder’s situation since anything they say will cause news. If Ellsbury plays, there will be outrage, especially if Clint Frazier goes to the minors. If he does not play, there will be talk about the Yankees being done with him. It’s a no-win situation.
Ellsbury doesn’t seem to care. Nothing fazes him. If he plays, whatever. If he does not play, whatever. Why should he care when he will get paid for three more years after this year? You can bet he will be set for life no matter what happens to him. What a country we live in, eh.
The former Red Sox outfielder has been known for his lack of passion for baseball. That was one of many reasons why the Red Sox were so happy to let him leave as a free agent. That should have been a hint for the Yankees not to sign him. It was a foolish decision to sign him just to show critics they are going to spend money in light of letting Robinson Cano leave the Yankees for the Mariners as a free agent that same offseason.
Not one Yankees fan was happy about this signing in the first place, so Ellsbury will never get a break from them. The Yankees probably rue the signing when he first got hurt in his second year of his seven-year, $153 million contract. It was a miracle he stayed healthy in his first season as a Yankee.
Ellsbury is now behind in the Yankees outfield depth roster for all intents and purposes. With his lack of production, Yankees manager Joe Girardi has decided to give bulk of Ellsbury’s playing time to Frazier, who has hit .290 while hitting .429 and slugging .929 with runners in scoring position.
Ellsbury will be a glorified $150 million bench player and pinch-runner as the season goes on. The Yankees can’t afford to waste games by playing their struggling outfielder, so this idea that Frazier will be sent to the minors is amusing to say the least.
The persona non grata Yankees outfielder has accepted his fate. He knows the situation, so he will go with the flow and be ready to play when called upon. While he collects his money to do nothing, the Yankees and their fans can’t possibly be happy with this development. What should be disgusting is he doesn’t care what happens.
It’s okay for him to sit on the bench this season, but the Yankees will have to make a decision on him this offseason. There’s no way they can keep him on the roster after this season despite his contract. It will be hard to trade him since he is worthless and not getting any younger, even if the Yankees are paying him to help another team.
What the Yankees have to do is agree on a buyout with Ellsbury. It would be best for all parties. He could use a fresh start just by going away. The Yankees can get rid of a distraction that they don’t need. The fans can be happy to move on rather than complain about him.
Ellsbury will be content one way or another since that’s the way he is wired. It’s actually sad to see a ballplayer not being defensive about his play or doing all he can to keep his job. Maybe if he was not paid $21 million a year, he would care.
With that attitude, the Yankees are sending a wrong message to keep Ellsbury. It should never be okay to keep a player if he is content to be a glorified bench player. His complacent attitude could rub off on Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, Greg Bird, Gleyber Torres and Frazier, and that’s the last thing the Yankees need after working hard to teach these guys the Yankees way of being professional and being all about winning.
Dumping Ellsbury would be an addition by subtraction. It would get rid of the poison that could permeate the Yankees organization. It would send a message that just because he is one the highest paid players on the team, it does not mean there’s a spot for him on the roster.
The Yankees would take a financial hit, but it’s hard to feel sorry for them when they are making money. They can afford to pay a player to go away. They have that advantage that small-market teams don’t have. Yes, it’s a three-year deal where they have to buy him out, but his absence would be a boon for the Yankees.
Ellsbury will be fine. He may just retire as he gets his buyout. He is 33 years old, and he may have other interests outside of baseball.
The Yankees should be ready to move on. He seems ready to move on.
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