So much for the New York Yankees being out of cash.
Robinson Cano, Jay-Z and others are likely not amused to find out that the Yankees have reportedly agreed to a deal with center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, one of free agency's top prizes.
The report comes from Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily 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
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
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick and Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe added further context to the blockbuster deal:
Can confirm Mark Feinsand report that Ellsbury deal with #yankees is done pending physical. On his way from Arizona to NY.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) December 4, 2013
#RedSox would get a supplemental 1st round pick for Ellsbury. Yankees lose their pick.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) December 4, 2013
Ellsbury is best known for his blazing speed that allows him to be an elite defender in center field and steal a plethora of bases when healthy. The seven-year pro appeared in 134 games in 2013, won a World Series and had a .298 batting average, .355 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .426.
While 53 RBI and nine home runs are nice, Ellsbury made his money defensively and on the basepaths with 52 stolen bases.
For his efforts in 2011, when he batted .321 with 32 home runs and 105 RBI, swiping 39 bases and scoring 119 runs, Ellsbury finished second in the AL MVP voting, earned a Silver Slugger, Gold Glove and was named an All Star. He appeared in 158 games that season, his healthiest to date.
As is the case with any free-agency signing, the world of social media had something to say about this one.
While Cano and the Yankees are reportedly far apart on compensation, it appears the team has been low-balling the second baseman. Grantland's Jonah Keri says it is time to stop playing around with the negotiations and get back to winning championships with Cano in the fold:
Yankees pretending they don't have enough money is hilarious and counterproductive. Re-sign Cano and make a title run.— Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) December 4, 2013
The Yankees themselves have reportedly said there is still room for Cano after the deal, but clearly, the Ellsbury deal places additional pressure on Cano's camp to come to terms, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post:
#Yankees official: we have no intention of trading Gardner. Says still room for Cano, but window closing— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 4, 2013
There is also the sarcastic route when it comes to Cano's situation, which Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press took brilliantly:
If Jacoby Ellsbury gets $153 million from the Yankees, Cano should get about $2 billion.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) December 4, 2013
It appears New York is once again in the driver's seat when it comes to throwing cash in an attempt to build a contender. Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan passes on a stunning figure sure to make Yankee-haters cringe:
Teams have now spent $524 million on free agents this offseason. The Yankees account for $238 million of that, or 45.4%.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 4, 2013
As always, it appears baseball is above all other sports when it comes to spending. The Ellsbury deal does nothing more than solidfy that notion. ESPN’s Andrew Brandt contrasts how the deal stacks up to every deal in NFL history:
Reports of Jacob Ellsbury to get $142 million guaranteed, over $70 million more than the highest NFL guarantee ever ($60 million).— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) December 4, 2013
Bryan Fischer adds more context to some of the NFL’s top stars (hint, kids—play baseball):
Ellsbury is signing a contract (7/$153m) likely worth more than what Andrew Luck, RG3 & Wilson will make over seven combined. #PlayBaseball— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) December 4, 2013
Not every reaction to the deal was positive, mostly because Ellsbury has an iffy history when it comes to health. Well, that and this is the Yankees. And truckloads of cash. Peter King of Sports Illustrated and The MMQB brings up perhaps the best point:
Yanks pay $22m a yr for Ellsbury, electric player who, in last 4 yrs, has played 18, 158, 74, 134 games. What a country.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) December 4, 2013
Pair the fact Ellsbury is often injured with the fact he's reached the scary age of 30, and it is easy to see why folks such as ESPN's Keith Olbermann are not thrilled with the move:
Which is fine. $153 million is a ton of cash, and how it is distributed over the length of the deal is something worth bringing up:
REPORT: #Yankees OF Jacoby Ellsbury's contract will pay him $153 million over 7 years, or one dollar for every trip to the disabled list— NOTSportsCenter (@NOTSportsCenter) December 4, 2013
There is another side to this coin. The Yankees are not necessarily paying for a name. Despite injury woes, Ellsbury has been one of baseball’s best on the paths, which surely drove up the price (as did the whole leaving Boston for New York thing):
Jacoby Ellsbury: 232 SB over last 6 seasons ... 3rd-most in MLB in that span (Michael Bourn 280, Rajai Davis 245)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 4, 2013
Besides, can we really be mad at Ellsbury? It’s far from his fault the Yankees splurge in this excessive fashion simply because they can. Ellsbury is surely grinning ear-to-ear right now:
Jacoby Ellsbury's average salary in this reported 7-year deal would be $21.86M ... or more than he made from 2008-13 combined ($20.8M)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 4, 2013
Sarcasm aside, and all due respect to Ellsbury, something may be wrong when his name is brought up in the same breath as Lionel Messi, LeBron James and Sidney Crosby. Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star does so to shocking results:
Jacoby Ellsbury now gets paid more than Lionel Messi, LeBron James and Sidney Crosby. Which is wrong.— cathalkelly (@cathalkelly) December 4, 2013
Regardless, here we are once again with the Yankees. In a classic maneuver, New York has managed to outbid all other contenders on the market for a player of their liking. For better or worse, this one is set in stone.
For now, we'll just let this one sink in a bit.