You Hate To See The Yankees Releasing Jacoby Ellsbury Before The End Of His $153 Million Contract

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This blog that you’re about to read is the equivalent of when a player achieves a milestone, and his teammates are forcing him at the top step of the dugout to take a curtain call. It appears as though the player doesn’t actually want to do it. “Noooo, guys. Come on,” he’ll probably say. But it’s only to appear humble. He wants to take the curtain call. And he does, soaking in every last bit of that crowd reaction.

I have never been more right about anything than I was about the Jacoby Ellsbury contract with the New York Yankees. This isn’t even a troll against Yankee fans, because that wouldn’t even make sense. They’re stoked to be rid of this guy. They’re still on the hook for the $21 million that he’s owed in 2020 and the $5 million buyout for 2021, but they couldn’t be happier to pay that out just to get him out of their organization.

Here’s the thing about Ellsbury — nice enough guy, should’ve been the 2007 World Series MVP and had a hell of a year in 2011. Outside of that, all signs point towards him being a lone man in the Red Sox clubhouse, and a guy who couldn’t wait to sign elsewhere once he reached free agency. There’s nothing wrong with that, either. Get paid if you can. I’m simply explaining why I felt absolutely nothing when a guy who won two World Series titles in Boston immediately bolted for the Bronx. Could not have cared less, and could not have been more right about what was about to come.

Back then, all the comparisons to Johnny Damon were way off. Damon was an icon in Boston. He had a personality. He was an integral piece to the most important championship in sports history in 2004. He also said that he’d never sign with the Yankees. He said that. And then the first chance that he got to, he did. That’s why it hurt so much when Damon left for New York. He was one of us. He was everything that they weren’t with his bushy beard and rockstar hair. Then, he shaved the beard, cut his hair, and put on the pinstripes. It was legitimately upsetting to see.

I forgave Damon, though. He got a raw deal. The man played his balls off for the Red Sox, he played hurt, and he loved the city of Boston. The Red Sox repaid him by barely making an effort to re-sign him, so Damon signed with the team that wanted him the most. That team just so happened to be the Yankees. That’s business. Of course, it would later make sense why the Red Sox made such a lackluster effort to re-sign Damon — they had Ellsbury waiting in the wings. That decision paid off, too.

The thing about Ellsbury that left such a bad taste in my mouth was that this was a guy who made countless trips to the disabled list (that’s what it was called back in my day), and when he got hurt, he tended to stay hurt. Now, when a player gets hurt and they can’t play, then it’s just flat out wrong to shame said player if they can’t take the field. But that’s the thing — Ellsbury was getting called out by his own teammates for how long he sometimes took to return from an injury when his team needed his presence in the lineup and in centerfield.


Ellsbury’s career year came in 2011 when he finished runner-up in the MVP voting, following up his injury-plagued 2010 campaign by leading the league in total bases, launching 32 homers, 46 doubles, and driving in 105 runs out of the leadoff spot. Of course, that was not Ellsbury’s final season with the Red Sox. However, he got paid as if it was.

When Ellsbury hit the free agent market, the Yankees simply outbid themselves. Nobody was even close to their offer, because they’re not dumb, I guess. New York took the money that they should’ve spent on Robinson Cano and dumped it on Ellsbury’s front porch. Who in their right mind would say no to that? I don’t blame Ellsbury for leaving the Red Sox. I don’t blame Ellsbury for taking $153 million from Boston’s greatest rival. I will, however, call the Yankees a bunch of idiots for making such a large financial commitment to a player with the history that Ellsbury had, and essentially pretending like his 2011 season was the norm for him. It wasn’t. It wasn’t before that year, and it never was again.

The writing was on the wall. I’m certainly not some genius for knowing that Ellsbury would be a flop in the Bronx. It’s just common sense. The guy had one great year, and he got paid what that one year was worth over seven years, two years after it happened. What the fuck did you expect?

My favorite Ellsbury moment with the Yankees was when the mic in the second base bag caught David Ortiz calling him a “rich bitch,” because…well, he is. Regardless of where Ellsbury fits in the conversation for worst contracts ever handed to baseball player, one thing is for certain — he is a rich bitch. A now unemployed, underperforming, oft-injured, disappointment of a rich bitch.

PS — Pablo Sandoval was still a worse signing. Fuck that guy.