The New York Yankees might have a chance to unload veteran outfielder Jacob Ellsbury’s contract before the start of the 2019 season. However, they might have to bring on another big contract to make it work.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reported on Monday afternoon that the San Francisco Giants and Yankees have talked about a deal involving Ellsbury. The 35-year-old center fielder has two years left on his massive seven-year, $153 million deal with a $21 million club option in 2021. He’s due $21.1 million in each of the next two seasons.
Ellsbury has been a disappointment since being acquired from the Boston Red Sox. He’s averaged just 10 home runs and 50 RBI while slashing .264/.330/.386 since 2014, a far cry from his monster 2011 season with Boston in which he posted a .321 average, mashed 32 home runs, and added 105 RBI.
A hip injury that required surgery in August held him out for the entire 2018 season, though he was nothing more than an afterthought in a Yankees outfield that featured Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton.
The returning cast continues to make the veteran expendable and the Giants’ need for outfield depth presents an opportunity for the Yankees to part ways with Ellsbury.
As it stands, the Giants will be rolling out a starting outfield of Austin Slater, Steven Duggar, and Chris Shaw. None of those players have had more than 316 career at-bats or a batting average over .255.
In order to do so, Olney reported that the Yankees would possibly have to take on the contract of Johnny Cueto, who is owed $68 million through 2021. However, the 32-year-old right-hander is recovering from Tommy John surgery undergone in August, which offers the Yankees a chance to get some insurance relief on the deal. Cueto is likely to return at the earliest around September of the 2019 season.