The New York Yankees want to trade Jacoby Ellsbury. Badly.
They tried to get Derek Jeter and the Miami Marlins to take on his contract during the Giancarlo Stanton trade discussions. But even Jeter wasn’t taking on Ellsbury and his albatross of a contract and instead, took Starlin Castro.
Over the last 10 years, Jacoby Ellsbury’s seven-year, $153 million deal with the Yankees might rank as one of the worst free agent deals in not just Yankees history, but in all of baseball.
Four years ago, the Yankees gave him that free agent deal thinking he would be the player similar to what he was when Ellsbury was an MVP candidate with the Boston Red Sox.
Jacoby Ellsbury’s first season with the Yankees was actually a productive one. He hit .271 with 16 home runs and 70 RBI and stole 39 bases in 149 games. Since then, Ellsbury has been really bad with the Yankees.
In 2015, he was so bad, Joe Girardi benched him for the Yankees Wild Card game against the Houston Astros. Ellsbury has also been unable to eclipse the 30 steals mark since 2014, as his highest mark was 22.
Even worse, this past year, Jacoby Ellsbury got transitioned into the fourth outfield spot and players like Aaron Hicks and Clint Frazier saw more playing time. During the 2107 postseason, Ellsbury barely saw the field and even when he did, he wasn’t productive. The bottom line; the Yankees want to move him and need him to waive his no-trade clause in order to do so.
So who can the Yankees trade Ellsbury to and make it work, at least contract wise? Here are several trade ideas for the Yankees this winter:
Yankees trade Jacoby Ellsbury to the Detroit Tigers for Jordan Zimmermann
Money wise, it would definitely make sense with Ellsbury’s $21 million and Zimmermann’s $24 million for next season. Zimmermann is signed on with the Tigers for another three years and they’ve been trending backwards ever since they lost the 2013 ALCS. They already moved Justin Verlander’s contract in the summer to the Houston Astros and while they likely wouldn’t be able to move Miguel Cabrera or Victor Martinez, Jordan Zimmermann might be more realistic since the Yankees need pitching. The Tigers could give Ellsbury a chance to play everyday again and try to help rejuvenate his career playing in spacious Comerica Park. Zimmermann meanwhile, could be a solid pitching option, especially in case CC Sabathia doesn’t return.
Yankees trade Jacoby Ellsbury to the Seattle Mariners for Robinson Cano
This has been a trade idea we’ve mentioned over the last couple of years; one that Michael Kay of the YES Network said made sense. One that Buster Olney of ESPN said that made sense. And even today, it would still make sense. As of right now, the Yankees starting second baseman is Ronald Torreyes, that is after the Yankees sent Starlin Castro to the Miami Marlins in the Giancarlo Stanton trade. Returning Robinson Cano back to the Yankees and inserting him in a stacked lineup with Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Didi Gregorius and now Stanton, would make it even more lethal. Ellsbury would get a chance to play near his Oregon home and play in another spacious ballpark in Safeco Field; a park that plays well to his skill set.
Yankees trade Jacoby Ellsbury to the Texas Rangers for Shin-Soo Choo
Both players signed their contracts the same winter; Choo signed for seven years and $130 million in Texas and he’s been underwhelming with the Rangers. In 2017, Choo hit .261 with 22 home runs and 78 RBI with 12 steals; not quite numbers worthy of his contract. Even with the bad deal, Choo’s numbers would still be more productive for the Yankees lineup over having Jacoby Ellsbury being a fourth outfielder and barely producing, especially in the power department.
Yankees trade Jacoby Ellsbury to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Andrew McCutchen
The money doesn’t line up, as Ellsbury is making over $21 million over the next three seasons. Meanwhile, Andrew McCutchen is set to become a free agent after the 2018 season and makes $14.5 million. So unless Pittsburgh is in a generous mood to hand over their former MVP and take on an aging outfielder, it’s not the most likely of scenarios. But if the Pirates feel like they can’t get anything for McCutchen since he’s set to walk after this year, then the Pirates might be inclined to make this deal. The Yankees obviously would have to take on a majority of Ellsbury’s deal in the process, but it wouldn’t be the craziest deal to happen.
Yankees trade Jacoby Ellsbury to the San Francisco Giants for Johnny Cueto
The Giants missed on landing Giancarlo Stanton. They also missed out on Shohei Ohtani. Things aren’t looking so great for the former World Series Champions and they would love to move some of their high-priced pitching that they landed a few years ago. Cueto signed a six-year, $130 million deal before 2016. Money wise, this trade is pretty even since Cueto is making $21 million over the next four seasons. The Giants might consider it since they’d be getting off the hook of one less season of Cueto’s deal. Plus, he fits a need for the Yankees in the rotation. Ellsbury would again, get the chance to play everyday and try to re-shape his career in the Bay Area.
Yankees trade Jacoby Ellsbury to the Atlanta Braves for Matt Kemp
Matt Kemp at one time was one of the better outfielders in baseball, but the injuries have hurt him through his career. He’s still making $21 million a season and is still somewhat productive. The salaries are somewhat even, although for Kemp, the Braves are only paying for $15 million of the $21 million owed to him with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres paying for part of the final two seasons of his deal. But he still has some power left in his bat. But again, the issue is staying healthy, as he played in 115 games during the 2017 season. But his season in 2017 was by far more productive than Ellsbury’s.