As far as I can tell, Jacoby Ellsbury has not talked to anyone in a long, long time. Do a Google search and look for the last time Jacoby Ellsbury was quoted as saying anything. I could not find anything. Can you? Oh wait! I found one here.
The last time that Jacoby Ellsbury suited up for baseball was during the 2017 playoffs. He went zero for 12 with two walks. That was the end. Zip. Nada. Nothing since. His contract was for $168 million spread out over seven years. The contract has this year and next year to go and then a $5 million buyout. So your grand total is $173 million for what has thus far added up to 8 fWAR or 10 rWAR depending on which system you like better.
Here is what we know: Sometime after the 2017 post season and in Spring Training 2018, Ellsbury pulled an oblique muscle during batting practice. According to MLB.com, After that injury, Ellsbury and the Yankees tried a number of avenues to deal with the injury to no avail and he had arthroscopic surgery performed by Dr. Bryan Kelly on his hip (hip?) to repair a torn labrum. Somehow his injury went from his oblique to his sacroiliac and all that led to a hip surgery. Yes, the stomach bone is connected to the hip bone, etc.
The surgery ended his 2018 season that never began and recovery time was pegged for six months. There was talk that he was going to show up for Spring Training on March 5 or 6, but that never happened and the lights went dark other than his name being among the multitude of injured Yankees.
There have been reports that the Yankees have given away his locker. Hmm...interesting. But, what seals the conspiracy aspect of this are the words of Aaron Boone on April 28. Let's look at them from a New York Post story and keep in mind how vague they are:
Before the Yankees’ 6-4 win over the Giants on Saturday at Oracle Park, manager Aaron Boone said Jacoby Ellsbury is “dealing with different things” and that “a number of little things that continue to pop up.’’
Ellsbury is on the
IL(DL!) after having hip surgery last year, and Boone said the outfielder is dealing with shoulder and hip problems. Ellsbury hasn’t played in a big league game since 2017 because of a long list of ailments.
“Certainly not in the short term,’’ Boone said when asked about Ellsbury making it back to the team.
Compare the vagueness of that answer to any other time Boone has been asked about an injury. He usually says things like: "The doctor says that the metacarpal is still sore and there is some swelling still that has to be dealt with before he can start baseball activities." I made that up, of course, but those are the types of answers both Boone and Brian Cashman give when questioned.
But what does Boone say about Ellsbury? "Umm...ahh...he is dealing with different things and a number of little things that continue to pop up." Okay...right. Ellsbury has once again been pushed to the 60-day disabled list.
You would have to assume that the Yankees have insurance on Ellsbury's contract. You would have to assume that they collected on that insurance last year. Another missed year for Ellsbury would mean more insurance payments, right? Wrong? Probably. Is the vagueness some sort of buffer to continue the insurance payments? Ellsbury's not talking. Boone is not talking specifics. It stinks or at least smells badly.
It seems pretty certain that Jacoby Ellsbury will never play for the Yankees again. If they can ever get healthy, the team has Aaron Hicks, Clint Frazier, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Brett Gardner. There is no room on that dance card, especially for a guy who was not very good the last time he played and has since missed two years of baseball.
I have never seen a situation like this one with the Yankees and a bad free agent signing. I've seen teams dump players. I've seen one bad contract traded for another. I've seen a now-terrible player still playing. But I've never seen a bad free agent signing hidden away and buried. Perhaps the conspiracy thing is tongue-in-cheek, but maybe it isn't.
I was listening to a sports radio program. I wish I could remember which one and the guest on the program was a former basketball NBA star. I cannot remember which one of those he was either, especially since I have not followed the NBA since Bill Bradley retired. But something about that interview stuck in my head.
The player was asked why his team never had many injuries and other NBA teams have lots of injuries. The player responded that much depends on the type of fitness people you hire. Some teams make it a super-high priority and others do not. I found that to be interesting.
Then, I thought about the Yankees. If you look at a lot of the injuries they have sustained thus far, many of them have been muscular. Judge had an oblique tear. Stanton had a bicep problem. Hicks has soreness in his back. Clint Frazier sprained an ankle. I believe Sanchez's injury was muscle related. Does that go back to the Yankees' fitness people? Are they not performing the correct exercises for the range of motion of playing baseball? Do they not stretch properly?
The statements by the former NBA player and the injuries to the Yankees, not only this year, but last year, make me wonder. I do not want people to lose good jobs, but I think it warrants further investigation by a team so dominated by metrics.