Are Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury Deals Enough to Offset Yankees' Losses?

Ely SussmanCorrespondent IDecember 6, 2013

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 30:  Jacoby Ellsbury #2 of the Boston Red Sox in action against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Six of the 2013 World Series at Fenway Park on October 30, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Nobody is offering the New York Yankees a shoulder to cry on following Friday's free-agent departures of Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson.

That's because the club opened up its wallet this week for Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury, a pair of All-Stars with comparable offensive potential. Including the newly introduced Brian McCann, the Yanks have committed $283 million to three lineup fixtures, while the competition spent $300 million even to lure Cano and Granderson away:

Notable 2014 MLB Free-Agent Movement, Position Players
PlayerOld TeamNew TeamContract Terms
Carlos BeltranSt. Louis CardinalsYankeesthree years, $45 million
Jacoby EllsburyBoston Red SoxYankeesseven years, $153 million
Brian McCannAtlanta BravesYankeesfive years, $85 million
Robinson CanoYankeesSeattle Mariners10 years,$240 million
Curtis GrandersonYankeesNew York Metsfour years, $60 million
MLB Trade Rumors Transaction Tracker

Now, let's consider how much production is coming and going from the Bronx: 

Regular-Season Stats, 2010-2013
PlayerBAHRSBfWAR
Carlos Beltran.284852210.4
Jacoby Ellsbury.2974511216.2
Brian McCann.257851113.4
Combined.27921514540.0
Robinson Cano.3121172125.4
Curtis Granderson.2451155513.8
Combined.2832327639.2
FanGraphs

So that's pretty fascinating—the overall value that these newcomers have provided over the past four years has been eerily similar to what New York was getting from Cano and Granderson. They—mostly Ellsbury—offset the lack of sheer power with superior efficiency on the basepaths.

And Yankee Stadium's short right-field porch is at least partially responsible for the discrepancy in those aforementioned home run numbers. MetsBlog's Maggie Wiggin used ESPN Home Run Tracker data to show that the "Grandy Man," in particular, would generate substantially fewer round-trippers at another ballpark.

The Yankees' high-profile signees should similarly reap the benefits of the stadium's friendly dimensions. Ellsbury and McCann both swing from the left side of the plate, while the switch-hitting Beltran does for the majority of his plate appearances.

One concern for the 2014 offense, however, is how it will fare against southpaws.

The three prominent additions all posted dramatic platoon splits this past summer:

  • Beltran in 2013: .871 OPS vs. RHP, .729 vs. LHP; Beltran in MLB career: .847 OPS vs. RHP, .878 OPS vs. LHP.
  • Ellsbury in 2013: .863 OPS vs. RHP, .641 OPS vs. LHP; Ellsbury in MLB career: .813 OPS vs RHP, .733 OPS vs LHP.
  • McCann in 2013: .869 OPS vs. RHP, .616 OPS vs. LHP; McCann in MLB career: .857 OPS vs. RHP, .744 OPS vs. LHP. 

The 2013 team won 58.2 percent of the time when lefties started against them, per MLB.com, compared to only 52.5 percent of their games overall.

Could the advantage they had suddenly morph into an Achilles' heel?

It probably won't, thankfully. As you can see, the struggles were uncharacteristic in each of case. If these players' future performances bear more resemblance to their lifetime norms, then yes, they're capable of offsetting the Yankees' losses of Cano and Granderson.

Fans of the pinstripes can eagerly await plenty more "See ya!" moments. They'll just have to get used to attributing them to new faces.

 

Ely is a national MLB Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and a sportscaster for 90.5 WVUM in Miami. He wants to make sweet, social love with all of you on Twitter.

Follow @MrElyminator