Yankees trading Jacoby Ellsbury for Ian Desmond make sense?

DENVER, CO - JULY 22: Ian Desmond
DENVER, CO - JULY 22: Ian Desmond /

You know the MLB offseason has officially hit a lull when well-known writers are proposing trades. This one involves the Yankees sending Jacoby Ellsbury to the Rockies for Ian Desmond.

When the Giants acquired Andrew McCutchen from the Pirates, most pundits figured the chances of the Yankees potentially sending Jacoby Ellsbury to the City by the Bay were extinct.

Not so fast, sports fans! It’s been reported by numerous outlets that the Giants will instead play Cutch in a corner outfield spot, meaning the G-Men are still in need of a defender capable of patrolling the wide open spaces of AT&T Park.

This rapidly aging team has earmarked the next few seasons as their window of opportunity following the acquisitions of Evan Longoria and McCutchen. They have also been linked to outfielders and former Kansas City Royal teammates Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson.

While Cain will cost considerably more than Dyson, it’s feasible the most attractive option could still be Ellsbury.

If reports are correct, that the Yankees are ready to eat half of his remaining $68.5 million, Ells suddenly becomes a realistic target at a little over $11 million per season for three years.

Factor in the chance that the Yanks would be forced to throw in a B-level minor leaguer and well, consummating this deal actually becomes more advantageous than signing any remaining free agent outfielders.

Should the Giants come away unimpressed with my reasoning, then there’s always the Colorado Rockies that general manager Brian Cashman could turn his attention to.

A little backstory before we continue.

On Tuesday, Joel Sherman of The New York Post speculated that an Ellsbury for Ian Desmond trade benefits both clubs.

"Ellsbury could provide athleticism in left in the big Coors Field outfield while serving as some security if center fielder Charlie Blackmon leaves as a free agent following the 2018 season. Colorado also gets out of the money after the 2020 season rather than 2021 with Desmond, which could be a factor as they think about long-term dollars for franchise face Nolan Arenado, who is a free agent after the 2019 campaign."

Having recently built a home in Scottsdale, AZ near the Rockies’ Spring Training facility, Ellsbury is running out of applicable destinations. A wise man would get on the horn with his agent, Scott Boras, and have him inform Brian Cashman that the time has come to waive that pesky no-trade clause for a more favorable situation.

More from Yankees News

As for Desmond finding a home in the Bronx, this too isn’t an ideal situation, but it points out just how desperate the Bombers are to rid themselves of Ellsbury’s baggage.

With four years and $60 million remaining on his contract (not including a $15 million team option or $2 million buyout in 2022), Desmond would hog a roster space for an extra year as compared to Ells. However, his contract sits at $8.5 million less — so it’s a bit of a toss-up as to which is more critical to the organization.

Coming off a season in which he was only able to play 95 games due to two lingering injuries, the 32-year-old former everyday shortstop with the Nationals, hit .274 with seven homers and 40 RBI in 339 at-bats.

Deployed mostly in left field while also seeing time at first base in ’17, it appears the Rockies are ready to welcome back David Dahl from a season-long injury to return to left field, in addition to penciling in prospect Ryan McMahon at first.

Over the course of his nine-year career, the two-time All-Star has played every position except for pitcher, catcher and third base — so his versatility is a bonus to an AL team that could also pencil him in at DH (of course, Giancarlo Stanton would put a crimp into that plan).

No, Desmond’s defense isn’t anything to get excited about — he’s adequate across the board at best.

However, he’s athletic enough to hold down second base until Gleyber Torres is major league ready. And I mean, really ready, not 81 at-bats at Triple-A before an injury — ready.

Remember, Desmond is only two seasons removed from smacking 22 homers for the Rangers, so the potential does exist to light a fire under him.

For those out there that believe this is a lateral move, it’s simple — this trade would save the Yanks $6 million in ’18 towards the luxury tax — opening up $37 million more to spend in total.

That would be more than enough to sign a frontline shooter like Yu Darvish or Alex Cobb and still have money left over for July 31 trade deadline.

Next: 6 infield trade targets for the Yankees

Get rid of Ellsbury, add a utility player (albeit a pricey one in Desmond) and sign Darvish or Cobb. Talk about three birds with one stone.