Yankees: Jacoby Ellsbury Sounds A Little Testy These Days

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees and Jacoby Ellsbury saga are well known. He’s been beaten up continuously over the years and with good reason. But his appearance in camp this year is marked by some testy exchanges with the press. And that’s something we’ve never seen. What should we make of it?

The Yankees have a lot on their plate in Spring Training this year with regards to several tough decisions that need to be made to compose the 25-man roster they’ll take North with them in April. As a veteran, Jacoby Ellsbury should not figure into that mix of tough decisions. By now, he should be a well-oiled machine who shows up, does his work, and answers questions about whether he’ll hit .300 and steal thirty bases again this season.

Instead, he finds himself answering questions about being dropped in the lineup, and it doesn’t appear to be sitting well. When asked about it yesterday by NJ.com, all he could muster was the well-worn cliche, “Whatever helps the team.”

When pressed, Ellsbury kicked the can down the road, rationalizing:

"“Until I talk to them, there’s no reason for me to even having the what ifs, the what if game, until I talk to them,” he said. “Then we’ll go from there.”"

Which means that we’re supposed to believe that he’s been in camp for several days and, not once, has he collided in the hallway with Joe Girardi or Brian Cashman to talk about it.

One thing is certain. Jacoby Ellsbury will not live out the length of his contract with the Yankees.

But if it’s true that he and the team haven’t spoken yet, that could be even more telling. Because it could mean that the Yankees don’t see Ellsbury as an important part of the team anymore and they’ve moved on seeing no reason to give him the respect usually awarded to a player of his stature in the league.

Ellsbury sees it for what it is and he doesn’t like it. Hence, the non-answers to any questions that are not, “How’s the baby?”

The Yankees Are Nearing A Decision On Ellsbury

It could also mean that the organization is getting closer and closer to cutting ties with Ellsbury, even if it means taking a huge money hit. Don’t forget, they did it with Alex Rodriguez, and they’re paying him a cool $21 million to not wear the Pinstripes.

There are teams out there who need a center-fielder, and they have the money to offset the Yankees swallowing Ellsbury’s remaining contract. The Tigers, for instance, instead of picking up center fielder Cameron Maybin’s $9 million option, shipped him to the Los Angeles Angels for a mediocre pitching prospect leaving them with a hole that still needs filling. And the Dodgers and Angels always seem to have a few extra bucks to throw around.

More from Yanks Go Yard

The thing is that Ellsbury has become everything the Yankees are not. He’s showing signs of being disgruntled, and that usually means the next step is for him to get cancerous in the clubhouse. No team needs that, but in particular, the Yankees don’t need their young talent to be around anything negative right now. These kids have enough to deal with.

For the moment, both Aaron Hicks and Tyler Austin, who won’t be out forever from his foot injury, are capable of doing a credible job. Billy McKinney could emerge as a factor in the mix as well.

The chances are that Ellsbury will begin the season with the Yankees and he’ll bat wherever the team tells him to hit in the order. If he gets off to a good start, all’s well in Yankeeland because that means his value to other teams has risen, and the Yankees don’t need to go begging.

Next: The Yankees Need To Come To Grips With Ellsbury

One thing is entirely predictable. Unlike Brett Gardner and Chase Headley, Jacoby Ellsbury will not live out the length of his contract with the New York Yankees.