Last year, these two veteran outfielders for the New York Yankees had a solid relationship. Now, that could all go to waste.
Jacoby Ellsbury doesn’t want to the leave the New York Yankees.
I mean, who could blame the guy? The Yankees were one win shy of playing in the Fall Classic and with several offseason moves, they are absolutely stacked for next year.
Ellsbury has a no-trade clause and has expressed his desire to make sure it stays intact. While fans hate on Ellsbury for his massive contract and underwhelming performance, putting his injuries aside from last year, he actually proved that the centerfielder they salivated over for years is still in there.
The problem isn’t in Ellsbury’s playing skills. No, the problem is the logjam he continues to create in the outfield, stunting the growth of upcoming prospects.
But his decision to decline any trades has implications that range far beyond prospects. With Jacoby Ellsbury not budging, he might just be running their clubhouse leader Brett Gardner out of town.
The longest tenured Yankee moving? Say it ain’t so! But with Ellsbury’s reluctance to leave the Bronx, the overcrowded outfield and Gardner’s trade value, it seems as though Gardner isn’t long for the pinstripes.
While rumors have surfaced that the Yankees discussed trading Ellsbury with the Arizona Diamondbacks (originally reported by Brendan Kuty of NJ.com), the likelihood of them completing the salary dump is like a Chris Carter home run: probably not happening.
Discussions have surrounded the center fielder but if he doesn’t want to go, he won’t. Who knows? Maybe he can emerge once again as the speedy threat he was in Boston. However, he’s no spring chicken. While Gardner isn’t either, he is in better standing with the Yankees and their fans overall.
Gardner starts practically every game. He committed no errors in left field this year. He stepped up in crucial situations and was truly the definition of clutch. The Yankees want to keep him. But Ellsbury holds all the cards.
If Ellsbury really won’t budge or the Yankees can’t find someone even willing to eat up his massive contract, they could trade Clint Frazier. They could trade Tyler Austin. But since the acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton, they now have him, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks as their four outfielders. If Ellsbury stays, he’ll have to play. One of them has to go.
I don’t think fans would have ever pictured the day that Gardner wouldn’t be in pinstripes but it’s becoming more and more of a reality as each day ticks by. Come Opening Day, the Yankees will be absolutely loaded in the outfield and Jacoby Ellsbury will likely still be in the thick of it.
The Yankees don’t need more outfielders. They need starting pitching. They need veteran presences at second and third base. They have other needs to address and with a plethora of talented veterans in the outfield and Ellsbury not budging, Gardner will be the likely one to be chased out of town.
It’s sad. It really is sad that Ellsbury has declined but it’s even more upsetting that the Yankees put themselves in this situation by inking a massive contract with a player who was riddled with injuries. Now, that contract could be forcing out one of the leaders of the Yankees clubhouse.
Will it happen? Who knows! But the more Ellsbury resists against a move, the more likely it is that Brett Gardner will get the axe and don a whole new uniform.