Sources within the New York Yankees organization confirmed to me Tuesday that free-agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury would be in New York on Wednesday taking a physical at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital for the team.
Ellsbury is widely considered as one of the top free agents on the market, and if paired with Brett Gardner, would give the Yankees some of the best outfield speed in all of baseball. Ellsbury led the league with 52 stolen bases last season, marking the third time in his seven-year career that former Boston Red Sox All-Star had swiped at least 50 bags. Of course, Ellsbury has had some injury problems over the early part of his career, leaving many to wonder how much longer he will be effective on the basepaths.
The 30-year-old outfielder owns a career .298/.350/.439 batting line, and figures to see a boost to those numbers if he were playing regularly in Yankee Stadium. The boost would be a necessity for a Yankees team that will be desperate to replace Curtis Granderson's production in the lineup.
Ellsbury would be the latest in a line of Red Sox that include Johnny Damon and Wade Boggs to leave Beantown for the Bronx, and could cause some increased tension in already fierce rivalry if he indeed signs a long-term contract with the Yankees.
Update 8:19 PM: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that Ellsbury and the Yankees are close to a seven-year deal, and speculates that the contract will be valued in the neighborhood of $150 million. It's now safe to assume that is the reason behind Ellsbury heading to Columbia Presbyterian for a physical on Wednesday.
Update 10:11 PM: Per Heyman, Ellsbury and the Yankees have agreed on a seven-year, $153 million contract.