Speedy center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury will be the latest former Boston Red Sox player to head to New York to play for the rival Yankees. According to CBS Sports on December 3, the prize free agent has agreed to a seven-year deal with the Yankees. Sources report that the deal will be worth $153 million.
The Red Sox did make an offer to Ellsbury but the center fielder decided to take his talents to New York and become the second marquee signing by the Yankees. The team previously signed catcher Brian McCann as the team hopes to rebound from a disappointing season.
With Ellsbury on board, the Yankees have solidified a leadoff hitter with great speed and it allows them to move outfielder Brett Gardner to left.
Jacoby Ellsbury has his best season with the Red Sox in 2011 and helped the team win two World Series titles, but injuries and his ability to stay on the field is a concern, but a risk the Yankees are willing to take.
It’s not like the Red Sox didn’t value the 30-year-old center fielder. Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington spoke highly of Ellsbury as the team attempted to re-sign him.
“Jacoby’s a terrific player as everyone knows. Of course, we know we’re a better team when he’s on the field than when he’s not. That’s about all there is to say at this point. We’ll just keep talking.”
Now Cherington and the team will have to fill the void left by Ellsbury. They can sign free-agent outfield Carlos Beltran and move Shane Victorino to center. Their other option amongst free agent outfielders is Shin-Soo Choo. Jackie Bradly Jr. can also be brought up from the minor leagues to help cover center field.