Jacoby Ellsbury's New York Yankees tenure didn't go as planned after he signed a seven-year, $153 million deal following the 2013 season.
The only thing the Yankees can exhale about is that Ellsbury didn't hit free agency in 2022. The contract would've cost (and wasted) at least $40 million more (did you see what Brandon Nimmo got?!).
At the time, Ellsbury was an oft-injured engine of the Boston Red Sox with an MVP-ish campaign to his name -- 2011, when he hit 32 home runs, his career-high by 16 and 24 more than he'd ever hit at that point. The injury troubles very much continued once he defected to the Bronx; his 2014 season consisted of 149 games, 16 dingers, a 111 OPS+ and a few clutch moments. Everything after that? Eh ...
Ellsbury never again had an above-average offensive season in New York, and his seven-year deal became four seasons for, uh, nebulous and potentially nefarious reasons. Still, he wrapped his career with 31.2 total WAR, an OPS+ of 103 and sterling speed, and played a key role on two championship (barf) Red Sox teams. It was a perfectly acceptable career and result from a top prospect, and made Ellsbury one of the notable players of his era and someone deserving of a spot on the Hall of Fame ballot.
As expected, he received no votes in the election that concluded on Tuesday when the counters revealed that Scott Rolen had passed the threshold. Neither did Matt Cain, who hurled a perfect game and led title runs in San Francisco. Neither did Jayson Werth, an '08 Phillie and a legendary agitator. Great players! Probably right where they should be.
Which means it was pretty uncalled for for the SNY Yankees account to put in the extra effort and rub some dirt in Ellsbury's result, designing a graphic meant to evoke "FAILURE!" around that 0% number.
Yankees Twitter account rubs salt in Jacoby Ellsbury's Hall of Fame wound
Yes, this is technically just informational, but you know the intent. The goal was to get fans riled up all over again about Ellsbury's Yankees tenure for the sake of interaction. Cool.
Ellsbury is a villainous figure in recent Yankee history, and certainly bothered the masses when he showed up to Dustin Pedroia Day, resurfacing at Fenway Park for the first time in years before a game against the Bombers. That said ... the Yankees come out looking dirtier than Ellsbury when you revisit the story of his tenure.
They paid him. That was his decision, not theirs. He accepted the lump sum. Of course he did! After four years, when it was obvious it wasn't working and he wasn't destined to be an expensive bench player during the 2018-20 seasons, the Yankees found the "smoking gun" and accused Ellsbury of seeking unauthorized outside counsel during injury rehab for a torn labrum in his hip.
Ellsbury missed the 2018 and '19 seasons with various maladies, but it always seemed sort of like the Yankees were burying him. It was tough to tell who was at fault. After all, the team had to make room for players like ... Aaron Hicks, which looks incredibly ironic now. Then, when the Yankees released the outfielder after the 2019 season, they tried to withhold his 2020 salary out of spite before eventually settling the grievance.
Sounds like someone who probably wouldn't have put a Yankees logo on his Hall of Fame plaque anyway, but there's no need to stigmatize receiving zero HALL OF FAME votes just to rile up the bleacher bums all over again. Ellsbury got further than 99% of MLB talent. It's OK to not make him the focus this week for Twitter zings and clout.