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Jacoby Ellsbury and Chase Headley: from liability to dependability?

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The veteran duo is becoming a huge boost for the Yankees offense

MLB: New York Mets at New York Yankees Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Remember the calls for Chase Headley’s job back in May and June, and the gloom that hung over third base when Gleyber Torres was loft for the year, leaving the Yankees “stuck” with the struggling Headley?

Remember when Jacoby Ellsbury was the most expensive fourth (or maybe even fifth) outfielder in the majors, and his lack of offensive production led to him losing his starting job, and his name being mentioned in some of the worst free agent signings in team history?

Okay, maybe Ellsbury and his ridiculous contract is still a very valid complaint, but these two veterans have gone from dead weight to the missing links in a Yankee lineup as the team looks to catch fire and chase down the division title.

The Yankees are still alive in the divisional race thanks to a huge weekend where they took three out of four games from Boston. Headley, having rediscovered his stroke since the arrival of Todd Frazier, recorded multiple hits in three of the four games, all of them contributing to a win for the Yanks.

Headley was batting .247 with a slugging percentage of .364 just before the All-Star break. He has since raised those totals to .280 and .429 thanks to a great second half in which he is batting .331 with seven homers, two of them coming in that crucial series last weekend.

Ellsbury, who batted .151 in July, has come alive recently and is hitting .440 in his last nine games, including a three-hit night in the series finale against Boston on Sunday night. With a heavier workload thanks to another oblique injury to Aaron Hicks, Ellsbury has saved his best games for when he has been needed the most, much like Headley.

Speaking of Headley, his improvement from the right side of the plate has been extraordinary, which we saw against Chris Sale on Sunday. His once microscopic batting average from the right side has been elevated to a more respectable .265. Should Joe Girardi elect to rest Greg Bird against a lefty, he can now feel much more confident putting Headley in at first if he can continue swinging the way he has been. Since he’s also been a better hitter than Todd Frazier since the trade, his ability to play third base adds to his flexibility and current value.

Both Headley and Ellsbury have received heavy criticism for much of the season, and rightfully so. Headley looked lost at the plate for two months while Ellsbury was essentially a multi-million dollar bench bat, since he was serving no constructive purpose in the everyday lineup. For the time being, that narrative has drastically changed.

With the starting rotation performing very well recently, some added offense will give the Yanks a huge boost down the stretch, especially if they can continue to get help from these two veterans who were pronounced dead earlier in the season.