December 03, 2013

Ellsbury to Yankees; overpay? And other dominos?

Well, this is a biggie. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick is reporting that Jacoby Ellsbury, arguably the top free agent of the year after Robinson Cano, is headed to Cano's team, the New York Yankees.

As far as "other dominoes"? First, this likely means that they're out on both Carlos Beltran and Shin-Soo Choo. At least, I would think so, after having already signed Brian McCann.

Well, let's qualify that a bit. And, let's start that by going on to the next paragraph.

It also means that Cano's got a week or so to shit or get off the pot on his demands, doesn't it? I'd say that if Cano and Jay-Z and all don't come down off their ridiculous demands before the start of winter meetings, the Yankees will take a look again at Choo. Or, perhaps, get more serious again with Curtis Granderson.

That said, this would also seem to confirm that the Yankees are NOT the team that made a three-year offer to Beltran. Per an earlier blog post of mine, I'd guess that he'll soon be wearing the powder blue of the Royals.

Now, as for contract, we have this:
The source confirmed a report that Ellsbury's deal exceeds Carl Crawford's seven-year, $142 million contract with the Boston Red Sox in December 2010.
That's some serious garbanzos. And, per CBS, it exceeds indeed, at $153M.

Or, another way to phrase it? It sure seems like an overpay. I predict he will not have a single year above 7.5 WAR, and only one above 7 WAR, for the length of the contract. I'll predict further he averages 4 WAR. That said, as a lefty, he'll benefit from the short porch in the Stadium.

Fangraphs agrees with my WAR analysis and the overpay.

That said, it's pricey, but it puts the Yankees in control with Cano.

Oh, and after 2014, when Alex Rodriguez is likely back in 2015 from whatever 2014 suspension he has, the Bombers will definitely be busting the lux tax unless they offer A-Rod a career buyout. I don't know how that would work in baseball, vs. the NFL cap-hit version of a buyout. Michael Eder agrees the Yankees likely won't get  under the lux-tax benchmark.

Flip side on Cano? Maybe he's not got A-Rod numbers, but his stats are better than Ells. If the Yankees won't pay $200M for his seven years, somebody might.

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