Reports: Yankees agree to deal with outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury
Either the Yankees’ self-imposed $189 million budget is in doubt or the team has moved on from re-signing Robinson Cano.
Multiple reports indicate the Yankees are near signing a deal to bring in free agent centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. The deal, according to reports, will be for seven years and $153 million. It also includes an option for another $16 million.
That deal will be slightly north of Carl Crawford, who signed a seven-year, $142 million deal with the Red Sox prior to the 2011 season. Of course, Crawford struggled mightily in Boston — partially due to injuries — and was traded to the Dodgers.
Ellsbury had a huge season in 2011 for Boston, finishing second in AL MVP voting with 32 home runs and 39 stolen bases along with a .321 batting average and .376 on-base percentage.
But those power numbers have proven to be an aberration in the two years since. He hit just four homers in 74 games in 2012 and nine in 134 games last season.
Ellsbury is an elite base stealer, however, and provides good defense in the outfield. He’s led the AL in stolen bases three times, including last season with 52. He won a Gold Glove in 2011.
The signing could signal the end of the Yankees’ pursuit of Curtis Granderson, also a centerfielder. Granderson is a free agent after playing the past four seasons in New York. He was injured much of 2013 and played in just 61 games.
The bigger question may be how this affects the team’s pursuit of Cano.
The second baseman, who has spent all nine career seasons in the Bronx, is also a free agent and reportedly is seeking a seven-year deal in the neighborhood of $200 million or more. The Yankees previously have stated they hoped to keep the payroll under $189 million to avoid paying a luxury tax.
The Yankees already signed Brian McCann, the top catcher on the market, to a five-year, $85 million deal.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.