Thursday, February 23, 2017
TAMPA — Let’s start this discussion by not being silly: The endgame arrives when Jacoby Ellsbury gets traded.
No road map that will get the $153 million center fielder a plaque in Monument Park exists. The goal should be to turn Ellsbury — who addressed the media for the first time in 2017 Wednesday at George M. Steinbrenner Field after staying home for the birth of his second child — into his 2013-14 winter classmate Brian McCann: an underwhelming but not awful acquisition who departed — with financial assistance from the Yankees, in return for a couple of interesting pieces — to make room for a more exciting youngster.
Ellsbury makes more money than McCann, he doesn’t possess anywhere as good a clubhouse reputation and he plays a less valuable position. Nevertheless, with young outfielders Dustin Fowler and Clint Frazier plus athletes like Jorge Mateo and Tyler Wade on the horizon, Ellsbury does no good clogging a spot as the Yankees try to construct another perennial contender, especially with the superior Brett Gardner (under team control through 2019) around to help and free-agent-to-be Bryce Harper available for ’19 as well.
The Yankees created this hurdle for themselves when they signed Ellsbury three-plus years ago to a deal that had most baseball folks, including Ellsbury’s previous employers in Boston, raising their eyebrows in disbelief. Now that hurdle must be leapt.
I swear I did not write this article, although I endorse it completely.
It’s not happening though.
Here’s the question. How much value do teams think Ellsbury has remaining over the next four years of his contract compared to the $89,571,428.60 he is owed (including the $5M buyout of his 2021 team option)?
If Ellsbury hits his 2017 baseline CAIRO projection, here’s how CAIRO projects him over the next four seasons.
Is 4.1 oWAR worth $90M or so? Probably not. He now projects as an average CF, and I suppose you can assume he adds some base running value similar to what he has done as a Yankee over the last three seasons, in the area of three runs a year. So let’s say he will be worth something like six wins over the rest of his dreadful contract. How much is it worth? $40M? $50M? Probably not more than that. So figure the Yankees will have to eat at least $40M in any trade.
For the heck of it, if he somehow manages to hit his 65% forecast this year his outlook changes appreciably.
Now you could argue he would project to be worth maybe six wins from 2018-2020 and maybe you only have to eat $20-30M to trade him. And you get maybe three wins out of him in 2017 as well.
But I don’t think that’s particularly likely to happen. And I think the Yankees are going to be stuck with Ellsbury for the next FOUR YEARS…
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