On Monday, Buster Olney reported that the Giants explored the idea of trading for Jacoby Ellsbury in a bad contract swap that would send Johnny Cueto to New York. As Tyler Norton wrote yesterday, though, this just wouldn’t make much sense for the Yankees since this would involve trading Ellsbury for an even worse contract. And I have to agree, there’s just no Cueto make this work.
However, it’s fun to live in a fantasy world where the Yankees could actually rid themselves of Ellsbury, or just figure out what to do with him, period. There’s no obvious spot for him on the roster anymore, but until a solution presents itself, they’re obligated to pretend like there is a place for him. Which is why I’d like to present some fresh, new, absolutely genius and very real solutions for how the Yankees should handle the Jacoby Ellsbury Problem.
1. Trade for another “bad” contract
It’s not brand new information that there is a group of Yankees fans that want Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, or both to don pinstripes. Those people are known as fans who want good players on their teams. There also exists a group of fans who don’t want either of them anywhere near the Yankees. Those people have different reasons but one common recurring question tends to be, “does Harper/Machado/Harpchado/Machper guarantee a World Series ring?”
No, they do not. No player guarantees a World Series ring, so what bad contracts could the Yankees explore taking on in order to rid themselves of Ellsbury?
Both Ellsbury and Mike Trout could (will) become free agents at the same time, so the years are a wash. Trout’s also making $34 million this year and next and since he won’t guarantee a World Series ring, this is definitely a bad contract swap.
At least the Yankees would be able to use Trout in center, and with Aaron Hicks in left and Aaron Judge in right, the outfield defense would be strong. Why would the Angels be interested? Well, the Angels with Trout haven’t sniffed the playoffs in four years and the Yankees both with and without Ellsbury have made the playoffs in three of the last four years. Check and mate. And as for Ellsbury’s no-trade clause? Well Los Anaheimangeles is closer to Oregon and Arizona than New York. Checker and mater.
Ace! Ace! Ace! The Yankees need an ace! Everyone knows the Yankees could use another elite starting pitcher, but unfortunately, this man is not that. He chokes in the playoffs! I know the Yankees need an elite ace that will pitch four complete game shutouts in the World Series, but pitching depth is not a bad thing to have. The Yankees depth behind their top-5 rotation arms is scary so sliding Kershaw in as a sixth man/long man in the bullpen could help.
When the Nationals announced they signed Max Scherzer and all the details of his deferred salary came out, everyone praised them for getting one of the best pitchers in baseball and making it work for them. Except Greg Kirkland, he just cursed at the Yankees front office, though I can’t imagine why. Scherzer’s “clever” deal has gotten the Nationals nowhere!
They also might be losing Bryce Harper, so they will be looking for a replacement outfielder. The truth is Scherzer’s contract has not resulted in a World Series championship. No matter how many Cy Young Awards he wins or no-hitters he throws, the Nationals are no closer to a visit to Washington D.C.
2. Let him stay Thanos’d
As the picture on the top of post will show you, the real reason Jacoby Ellsbury didn’t play a single game in 2018 is because he was one of Thanos’ victims as shown in the documentary feature film, Avengers: Infinity War. Now we pretty much know that Captain America and company are going to find a way to un-Thanos those who were lost, but maybe they can find a way to just let Ellsbury stay Thanos’d.
3. Designated Catcher’s Interference Man
I think at this point everyone can agree that if Jacoby Ellsbury were to play actual baseball games, his highest skill rating would be for catcher’s interference. He’s already the single-season record (16) and all-time record (30) leader in this, so maybe the Yankees can find a way to use this to their advantage.
At this point we just have to assume they’re going to be paying lots of money for the next two years (yes, I’m ignoring the insurance because facts are overrated), whether it’s to Ellsbury, another bad contract via trade, or another team that’s now employing him. They should at least try to salvage the roster spot.
Here’s my solution: cut him/buy him out à la A-Rod and then instead of hiring him as a special assistant, hire him to just mess with catchers. Don’t you want to just see Ellsbury run onto the field every so often and tackle the opposing catcher?
4. Add him to the prohibited items list
Greg spent some time recently exploring all the items on the Yankee Stadium banned list. What if they just added Ellsbury to that list? At least the problem would be solved for 81 games.
I wanted to see what it was like to live in a world where the Yankees actually do something about Jacoby Ellsbury instead of just hoping (assuming? knowing?) he breaks again, and I must say it was fun. I think any of these solutions would work but I’m open to other ideas as well. Hit me with your best ideas, people.