According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Yankees are closing in on a 7 year deal with Jacoby Ellsbury. The price is supposed to be more than Carl Crawford‘s $142 million deal. I’ll keep this post updated.
The centerfielder hit .298/.355/.426 in 2013, but has hit a wall with power lately. The speedy Ellsbury stole 52 bases last season, but hit just 9 home runs. Ellsbury continues to have a ton of potential following his 2011 MVP run, when he hit 32 home runs with a .321 batting average, but recent injuries may have slowed him down.
A shoulder dislocation in 2012 looks to be one huge cause in his recent power struggles. He also ended the 2013 season with a fractured foot. Most of these injuries are flukes, but this is Ellsbury’s style of play. Hopefully he can stay healthy over the next 7 years.
Update (8:30 PM EST): Heyman says that deal is close to $150 million. This means the luxury tax hit is about $21.5 million for 2014. If Rodriguez returns for 2014, the team is now down to just $4.7 million left to spend until $189 million is hit.
Update (8:41 PM EST): Feinsand has the exact figure, 7 years, $153 million. That’s an AAV of $21.86 million a year. So obviously the Yankees think Rodriguez is suspended, that or the luxury tax threshold was a lie the whole time to have an upperhand in this offseason’s spending spree.
Update (8:51 PM EST): Joel Sherman says a Yankee official told him the team will not trade Gardner and there is still room for Cano, but time is running out.
Update (8:59 PM EST): According to Bryan Hoch, there’s an 8th year option in the contract that’s valued around $16 million. That’ll lower the AAV to $21.125 million.
Update (9:08 PM EST): Apparently the Yankees are still in on Carlos Beltran and Shin-Soo Choo. They already have 5 outfielders, so maybe this is a bluff or backup plan if they don’t sign Cano. I guess Soriano could move back to second base.
Update (9:35 PM EST): Mark Feinsand says the plan is to play Ellsbury in center, Gardner in left, and Soriano in right. Sounds good to me.
Update (12:43 AM EST): Ellsbury gets a full no-trade clause with his $153 million deal. Still not 100% on the 8th year option.