The New York Yankees and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury have agreed on a massive, seven-year, $153 million contract, according to reports. The deal includes an option for an eighth year.
A massive contract indeed. Jacoby Ellsbury will be under team control until the 2020 season, with a chance to be a Yankee through the 2021 season. The Yankees might've make a very risky signing due to Ellsbury's injury concerns, but when he's healthy, Ellsbury is one of the best center fielders in all of baseball. There is no argument there. Will we say that again in seven years? I consider it very unlikely, perhaps doubtful.
Ellsbury, 30, hit .298/.355/.426 in 2013 with 9 HR, 53 RBI, and a league-leading 52 stolen bases. The speedy center fielder is a stolen-base threat every time he gets on base, which easily gets him into scoring position. He's a nice addition to nearly any team, and can really help bolster your run production. Ellsbury, however, could lose his speed in his mid-30s. Many players just cannot keep it up; Jimmy Rollins a prime example. Since reaching 47 steals in 2008, Rollins has gotten over 30 steals once, and has gotten lower than 25 steals twice. It's hard to keep speed up with you. Ellsbury could follow the same pattern.
Ellsbury is an amazing player, don't get me wrong, but when you make a seven-year, $150 million + commitment to a player at the age of 30, good things will likely not happen. We won't know, however, until we are well into the deal. For the time being, the Yankees get a good center fielder who can create runs with his legs. That's what you want.