The New York Yankees are looking to recoup part of their investment into Jacoby Ellsbury after parting ways with the oft-injured outfielder.
For two years, many Yankees fans believed that the team was hiding Jacoby Ellsbury in the witness protection program. Maybe he was holed up in a cabin in the woods. It’s possible general manager Brian Cashman gave him a lot of money to relocate to a country with no extradition. All Yankees fans know is that Ellsbury has been completely MIA and plagued with a never-ending list of injuries.
Additionally, his disappearance from the face of the earth allowed the Yankees to recover insurance money on his contract. And as an added bonus, his constant presence on the 60-day injured list allowed Cashman to assign his spot on the 40-man roster elsewhere.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, there’s no more insurance money coming on the contract. Further, the team needed that 40-man roster spot to protect players from the 2019 Rule 5 Draft. So, cutting Ellsbury made all the sense in the world. Even considering the team would have to eat the $26 million they still owed him.
Well, now the Yankees are going after that money. According to King, the team can go after Ellsbury for treating with a non-approved rehab facility in his attempt to get back on the field.
From a business standpoint, this is a no brainer for the Yankees. They don’t want to pay Ellsbury to play for someone else or not at all. They found a way to go after the money.
But the fact remains that business and baseball decisions are entangled in the game. Going after the remainder of Ellsbury’s contract will undoubtedly turn players against executives.
The Players Association will fight this move with everything they have because of the dangerous precedent it sets. Ellsbury was clearly just trying to get back on the field, and the decisions he made in that pursuit may cost him millions of dollars.
It sets a precedent for teams to find ways to go back on deals they believe were not worth it. That will piss players off. It’ll certainly piss off Ellsbury’s agent, Scott Boras, right before the Yankees try to acquire another one of his clients in Gerrit Cole.
However this shakes out, it’s a bad look for the Yankees. It may be a wise business decision. However, it shows a deep lack of support for a player they signed to a long-term deal. Even if that deal was the worst in Yankees’ history.
The team shouldn’t be going to war with the Players Association because they want a refund on a bad investment. It’s bad for business in the grand scheme of things.