Jacoby Ellsbury, one of the top free-agent talents on the open market, has reportedly signed a seven-year deal with the New York Yankees.
New York Daily News reporter Mark Feinsand had the news:
The Yankees' deal with Ellsbury is done, pending a physical. I'm told the contract is bigger than Crawford's 7 year/$142M deal.— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) December 4, 2013
Feinsand added more detail:
Yankees deal with Ellsbury is seven years and $153 million. That's $12 million more than Crawford's contract.— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) December 4, 2013
MLB.com's Bryan Hoch notes that there's an option for an eighth year as well:
Ellsbury's Yankees deal is seven years and $153 million. There is also an eighth year option that could raise the total value to $169M.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) December 4, 2013
Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports had differing information on the money and provided more details on clauses built into the deal:
Ellsbury contract, according to source: 7 yrs, $148 million. 8th-year option that would take contract to $169m. Buyout is $5m. No-trade.— Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) December 4, 2013
Boston Globe reporter Pete Abraham offered additional info:
#RedSox would get a supplemental 1st round pick for Ellsbury. Yankees lose their pick.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) December 4, 2013
As for how this will impact the Yankees' payroll and the luxury tax, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports had the specifics:
For luxury-tax purposes, Ellsbury's contract will count as $21.86M. The value of buyout is included in the average annual value calculation.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 4, 2013
The veteran center fielder is coming off one of his best—and most healthy—seasons in recent years, capped off with an epic World Series victory.
In 134 games during the 2013 campaign, Ellsbury compiled a batting average of .298, an on-base percentage of .355 and a slugging percentage of .426.
Did Ellsbury deserve this new contract?
He had 172 hits and 53 RBI in that same span, along with a respectable nine home runs and an eye-popping 52 stolen bases.
The seven-year pro is probably best known for his elite speed, allowing him to cover ground in the outfield and steal bases with ease. He’s also one of the game’s best leadoff men and proved that he can come back from injury in a big way this year.
Ellsbury's best season in the majors came in 2011, when he captured both the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards, plus made the All-Star team.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington discussed Ellsbury and the market for his services on Wednesday (via Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com):
Cherington on Ellsbury: "We would have loved 2 keep him, but we felt like there was a range we were willing 2 go 2 & market got past that.''— Sean McAdam (@Sean_McAdam) December 4, 2013
While the Yankees will be hoping that he can stay healthy—something that hasn’t exactly been a given during Ellsbury’s career—he should make an immediate impact at the top of the lineup, as a baserunner and in the outfield.
With career totals of 865 hits, 314 RBI, 241 stolen bases and 65 home runs, the 30-year-old Ellsbury has already put together a stellar body of work and only promises to build on that in New York.