When the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury back in December to a 7-year $153 million deal, essentially ending any chance of Robinson Cano returning to the Bronx, fans were very skeptical as to why the Yankees would be willing to pay almost as much for Ellsbury, as the amount they were reportedly offering Cano. Ellsbury has also had a well documented history of injuries, and at the time, fans just could not put two and two together as to why the Yankees would be willing to pay so much for so many years, for such an injury-prone player.
Now, five months later, the answer is obvious.
We’d all heard what a dynamic player Ellsbury was when he was healthy with the Red Sox, and we’d all seen it whenever the Yankees played the Sox. We just needed to see it up close and personal for an extended period of time, to truly realize it. While it is only 30 games into the season, Ellsbury has been by far, the Yankees’ best player.
Ellsbury, once nicknamed “Doughboy” by the New York Post, and the New York Daily News as a shot at the huge contract he received, has earned every penny of that deal. He has managed to stay healthy, and currently leads the Yankees’ starters in hits (37), BA (.333), RBI (14), OBP (.390), runs (17), and stolen bases (10). Ellsbury also has six games with at least three hits so far this season, which are the most in the American League. He has also hit one homer, two triples and 10 doubles. Defensively, he’s flashed the same leather in centerfield that helped to establish him as one of the premier outfielders in the league.
So there is no doubt that so far, Jacoby Ellsbury is the MVP of this Yankees team. When the Yankees signed Ellsbury they knew he was good, but even manager Joe Girardi didn’t think he would be this good.
“Yes,” Girardi said before yesterday’s game to NJ.com when asked if Ellsbury is better than he thought. “Because I think you see everything that he does on a daily basis as opposed to maybe seeing a great catch or great jump on a ball in the outfield maybe once in a three-game series. “But you get the chance to see him everyday and what he’s capable of doing. He’s a better player than even what I thought.”
Ellsbury hasn’t been good. He hasn’t been great. He’s been excellent. And while it remains to be seen whether or not he can keep this type of play up forever, if the Yankees can get even a little bit on a consistent basis from Ellsbury of what he has been providing so far, there’s no question, that he has a long and successful future in New York ahead of him.