The New York Yankees had been having a rough offseason. Dealing with the Alex Rodriguez grievance, suspension and contract is hard enough for the Yankees, without also negotiating with Robinson Cano and dealing with the Boston Red Sox being world champions again. Yet New York got one over on its arch rivals and got back into the AL big picture in one fell swoop, by swiping away Boston's own Jacoby Ellsbury on Dec. 3.
The day had started with the Red Sox agreeing to sign World Series winning catcher A.J. Pierzynski, according to ESPN. Pierzynski would replace Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who is reportedly on his way to the Miami Marlins. Yet Pierzynski is 37 years old, and bringing him on board hardly made up for losing Ellsbury to the Yankees hours later.
According to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, Ellsbury will agree to a seven-year, $153 million deal with New York, with an option for an eighth year worth $16 million more. However, by then Ellsbury will be 37 and likely on the down side of his career.
Paying so much for someone that might not be worth it in eight years may be the same old, same old for the Yankees -- after all, that's partly how the Rodriguez mess got so disastrous. If that didn't teach the Yankees a lesson about paying too much for too long, then nothing will.
But yet again, New York is willing to brush aside long term concerns for short term success. Given that the Yankees missed the playoffs last season while the Red Sox won it all, and may be without both Rodriguez and Cano next season, they needed some kind of splash. Taking Ellsbury to fill centerfield and be their new leadoff hitter qualifies.
It may ease the sting if New York can't give Cano $200 million or more -- and with this deal, there's even less of a chance he will get that much. The Seattle Mariners might be building to an offer of $200 million through eight years, according to ESPN New York.
With the Mariners unlikely to contend even with Cano, it may not be such a huge loss. With Ellsbury in New York and not with the defending world champions in Boston, that could give the Yankees something to build on. At the least, it is perhaps their most positive headline in over a year.