'Invisible' Ellsbury

Wingack

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149, 111, 148, 112 games over the first four years of the contract, though the 2017 season. That's why the games played is higher than we think, he frontloaded a ton of it.

Then....nothing.

A team will probably take a flyer on him for the minimum, but I'd be shocked if he ever plays in a MLB game again.
I bet he does.

I think he is fine and the Yankees were doing something shady and just burying him.
 

tims4wins

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Let's be honest though guys this contract was barely better than Pedroia's. $110M for 496 games, which were also front loaded in the first 4 years of the deal.
 

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I think he is fine and the Yankees were doing something shady and just burying him.
I think this is true. I still doubt he will play. Not because of health, but because he really doesn't want to. I get the impression that he didn't enjoy his time playing and will be fine just moving on. If he hasn't already moved on.

Edit: Not a knock on Ellsbury's character. I don't think he's a Carl Pavano.
 

terrynever

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Ellsbury was the deal that changed Cashman’s team-building approach. Using a familiar tactic, Brian tried to hurt his main competition by signing one of its better players. He thought Ellsbury would hit 30 homers a year in Yankee Stadium with its short porch and jet stream wind flow. Seemed to make sense at the time.
Yankees have been cherry picking Boston players since the days of Babe Ruth. The Curse of Ellsbury has haunted the franchise for six years now. My guess is Cashman has made his last deal for a Boston player, or anyone with an injury history.
 

jon abbey

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I don't feel like hunting down the quote, but somewhere yesterday said that Ellsbury thinks he is on track to come back and play in 2020. I also think that there was something shady going on here but I have no idea why the insurance company would be ok with it, very odd situation.
 

jon abbey

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Yeah, no way is NY going after Mookie for $300M or $400M or whatever it takes, they have Judge and Stanton (who can theoretically opt out after 2020 but not holding my breath) and Hicks and Tauchman all under control for a long time, plus Jasson Dominguez may be ready as soon as 2022 (Juan Soto timetable).
 

Average Reds

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Let's be honest though guys this contract was barely better than Pedroia's. $110M for 496 games, which were also front loaded in the first 4 years of the deal.
The numbers may indicate similarity, but the situations are very different.

If Pedroia were declared to be fully recovered, the Red Sox would rejoice and welcome him back. The Yankees just cut ties with Ellsbury, even though many suspect he’s been fully recovered from his injuries for some time.
 

Average Reds

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I don't feel like hunting down the quote, but somewhere yesterday said that Ellsbury thinks he is on track to come back and play in 2020. I also think that there was something shady going on here but I have no idea why the insurance company would be ok with it, very odd situation.
I strongly doubt that the insurance company was “OK” with any of it. My guess is that the premise of the policy was that the Yankees would always want their star center fielder in the lineup. Once that was no longer true, the situation flipped on its head and the Yankees were now incentivized to find ways to certify that Ellsbury was unfit to play based on the cumulative impact of his injuries. (It appears they have run out of ways, which is why he was cut.)

The only situation I can think of that is similar is the golfer Anthony Kim. He had a brilliant start to his golf career before suffering two injuries in 2012. He recovered in the offseason and was expected to rejoin the tour the following spring. Instead, he simply vanished.

The reason is that he had insurance against a career-ending injury that was both incredibly lucrative (estimated at close to $20 million, tax-free) and strict, in the sense that he was quoted as telling a friend that “If I take one swing on tour, the policy voids.” He has never taken another swing, and today, at 34, lives a quiet, golf-free life.

Insurance can create strange incentives.
 

tims4wins

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The numbers may indicate similarity, but the situations are very different.

If Pedroia were declared to be fully recovered, the Red Sox would rejoice and welcome him back. The Yankees just cut ties with Ellsbury, even though many suspect he’s been fully recovered from his injuries for some time.
If JE comes back and plays meaningfully in 2020 then I might agree, but otherwise, does it really matter? Both contracts sucked.

Edit: I will say that if Pedroia's contract was instead structured as a 5 year / $110M deal, we might think differently, because the Sox probably got their $110M worth... but just got $0 of it over the last 3 years of the contract. Not dissimilar to the JD Drew contract where he was worth the $70M over the first four years of the deal, then worth nothing in year five.
 

BoSox Rule

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Shit happens but nobody really thought Ellsbury would live up to the contract and he didn’t even come close. Pedroia’s contract was almost universally praised as a bargain at $13.75 million per year especially in the context that everyone knew Cano was about to get at least $100 million more total a few months later.
 

EvilEmpire

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I think Ells is closer to Sandoval than Pedroia on the comparison scale of bad contracts, but certainly somewhere between them. More value provided than Sandoval and Pedroia's was definitely more team friendly going in.

At least we avoided a bad Cano deal.
 

Comfortably Lomb

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Shit happens but nobody really thought Ellsbury would live up to the contract and he didn’t even come close. Pedroia’s contract was almost universally praised as a bargain at $13.75 million per year especially in the context that everyone knew Cano was about to get at least $100 million more total a few months later.
I seem to remember the general sentiment from Sox fans was the contract was a hilarious overpay. Despite Ellsbury being generally well-liked, I remember people openly mocking the Yankees at the time. And at a minimum, agreeing if they wanted to pay him as if he was his career year, that’s their business.
 

jon abbey

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I seem to remember the general sentiment from Sox fans was the contract was a hilarious overpay. Despite Ellsbury being generally well-liked, I remember people openly mocking the Yankees at the time. And at a minimum, agreeing if they wanted to pay him as if he was his career year, that’s their business.
This is true for Yankee fans also, almost universally hating the deal the minute it was signed and mocking the ownership for the move.

Also if you remember the specific context, it was even worse. This was the winter they first tried to get under the $189M number, and even though it became obvious a year earlier that they would not be able to (because too many of their young pitchers had not progressed enough), they insisted on sticking to it, until pivoting 180 degrees one day around this time of year and literally signing anyone who would take their money. Besides Ellsbury, they offered Shin-Soo Choo a 7/140 deal and when he turned it down, they signed Beltran to 3/45 that same day.
 

wallypip

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I researched the insurance/release issues a few years ago. Here's an old article about how insurance actually works: https://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/02/understanding-the-business-of-baseball-insurance-on-player-contracts.html/. More than likely, Ellsbury's insurance ran out at the end of last year. The policy that teams take out on players is usually a three year term, so the Yankees would have renegotiated it at the end of 2016 and collected their last claim at the end of last season. Releasing him now makes perfect sense.

I'm going from memory based on Steve Philips discussing this a few years ago, but there's almost no chance of any collusion between the Yankees and Ellsbury. This wouldn't just be some league office issue. Everybody, including Ellsbury, would be looking at jail time for insurance fraud. The insurance company does it's own investigation and physicals and everyone involved has to sign affidavits. You can actually face charges just for suggesting insurance fraud. If Ellsbury is exaggerating his injuries, it's for his own personal reasons.
 

bankshot1

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I think Ells is closer to Sandoval than Pedroia on the comparison scale of bad contracts, but certainly somewhere between them. More value provided than Sandoval and Pedroia's was definitely more team friendly going in.

At least we avoided a bad Cano deal.
IIRC when Pedroia signed it was generally viewed as a long-term team friendly deal for a guy who had performed at a very high level and was on a HOF track. And then bad luck and injuries turned the contract into an albatross. Sandoval for many was a head scratcher and ranks as one of the worst signings in Sox and MLB history. IMO Jacoby is more in the Sandoval class and as I recall the Sox may have offered Ellsbury a 5-90, (that offer seemed more rumor than real , with a prospect, JBJ waiting in the wings) but IIRC2 Cashman in essence bid against himself in his pursuit of a FU signing.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Report: Yankees to try to get money back from Ellsbury
https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/yankees-are-trying-to-recoup-some-of-the-26-million-owed-to-jacoby-ellsbury-per-report/
"Now, the Yankees are reportedly planning to file a grievance, in an attempt to withhold some of the money they owe Ellsbury. Here's more from George King III of the New York Post:
The Post has learned, according to several people with knowledge of the situation, the Yankees are attempting to recoup some of the money by filing a grievance because Ellsbury used an outside facility to rehab injuries that kept him off the field for the past two seasons.
The Yankees reportedly held insurance on Ellsbury's contract and recouped some portion of his salary in 2018 and 2019. But George King and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post report that Ellsbury's deal is not insured in 2020, the final year on his contract."
 

DanoooME

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According to ESPN it's the entire 2020 contract and the buyout being converted to "non-guaranteed", and they won't pay it. This will be an interesting grievance to see go through the system.
 

Sin Duda

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I think Cashman is one of the best GMs around, but why are the Yankees frequently trying to recoup money from their players? It always seems like a dick move to me. Who makes these decisions? Ells, ARod ... there have been others, haven't there?
 

jon abbey

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I think Cashman is one of the best GMs around, but why are the Yankees frequently trying to recoup money from their players? It always seems like a dick move to me. Who makes these decisions? Ells, ARod ... there have been others, haven't there?
Those were two pretty special and unusual situations. You have other examples?
 

Dewey'sCannon

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This is going to be a big fight. Statement from MLBPA: "The Player's Association will vigorously defend any action taken against Jacoby or his contract and is investigating potential contract violations by his employer."

And noteworthy that Boras is his agent. I wonder if this will have any impact on current free agents' consideration of the Yankees (especially Boras clients) as it might call into question their confidence in the team honoring their contractual commitments in case of injury. I know Boras has an interest in getting his clients offers from the Yankees to help create a market, but I have to imagine that Boras is really not happy with them right now, and that it has to have some impact on his level of trust with team management.

I can see why the Yankees might want to try this, not only to save the money but to lower their CBT level, but it seems like a really risky move on a number of levels.
 

jon abbey

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Now this makes a little more sense:

"At the center of the Yankees’ attempt to avoid paying Ellsbury the guaranteed money it promised him is Ellsbury’s quiet use of a clinic in Atlanta run by a doctor named Viktor Bouqette, according to the New York Daily News.

The Yankees were reportedly tipped off a few months ago that Ellsbury had been receiving outside treatment from Bouqette’s Progressive Medical Center, and the clinic is now reportedly under investigation by a unit usually used by MLB commissioner Rob Mafred to investigate performance-enhancing drug cases.

The Daily News characterized Bouquette’s experience as a physician as “checkered,” citing a 2011 incident in which he misdiagnosed a 56-year-old woman who later died while undergoing “intravenous chelation therapy.” The Mayo Clinic describes such a treatment as “controversial” and its effectiveness lacking evidence.

Adding to the intrigue is the reported belief that Ellsbury has been getting treatment at the clinic since 2017, which could allow the Yankees to also target the $63 million paid to Ellsbury in the 2017-19 seasons."

https://sports.yahoo.com/yankees-jacoby-ellsbury-26-million-contract-release-215558393.html?soc_src=hl-viewer&soc_trk=fb
 

jon abbey

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I can see why the Yankees might want to try this, not only to save the money but to lower their CBT level, but it seems like a really risky move on a number of levels.
I'm not sure it affects the CBT number or if it's just about actual money, I have not seen this addressed anywhere but it's a lot more interesting to me if it's both.
 

Dewey'sCannon

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I'm not sure it affects the CBT number or if it's just about actual money, I have not seen this addressed anywhere but it's a lot more interesting to me if it's both.
If the Yankees are successful in voiding the contract - which I think is what they are attempting to do - I would have to think that the voided contract would no longer count for CBT purposes. I have to think that's part (maybe a big part) of their reason for doing this, but I think there's from risk in pursuing this strategy that goes beyond just the risk of losing the grievance. I can see this now also becoming an issue for the CBA negotiations - as if we needed any more complications there.
 

radsoxfan

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Obviously devil is in the details, but on first blush I can see why the Yankees would be very annoyed that Ellsbury couldn't play for 2 years and was secretly being treated by some non-ortho doc with a sketchy past. Don't know the contract language and if they have a shot at winning, but 26M is still a lot of money. Strange move by Jacoby, I wonder if Boras knew about all of this.

https://www.casewatch.net/board/med/bouquette/order.shtml
https://www.ajc.com/news/thousands-georgia-doctors-lack-malpractice-insurance/Vi0AiWToWs1zRX9qIBrnIM/
 

Average Reds

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Those were two pretty special and unusual situations. You have other examples?
If you will recall, they floated the idea of voiding Jason Giambi’s contract as well.

https://www.espn.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&id=1936931
The Yankees have a track record of attempting/threatening to void contracts when one of their big free agents becomes an embarrassment to them.

It’s pure misdirection. They’ll eventually pay Ellsbury - just like they did with Giambi and ARod - but not before they punish him for the sin of not being as good as they thought he would be.

It’s funny that we all talk about the Red Sox smearing players on their way out of town and ignore the (much more significant, IMO) cases where the Yankees act that way.
 

tims4wins

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Remember that time the Yankees tried to get MLB to have the Rays forfeit a game since they couldn't play due to a hurricane? All class all the time
 

jon abbey

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Remember that time the Yankees tried to get MLB to have the Rays forfeit a game since they couldn't play due to a hurricane? All class all the time
People need to put citations for their memories, this was just blowhard douchebag Randy Levine talking shit, notice the voice of sanity Cashman's quote right afterwards:

"Before Tampa lost its eighth straight, Yankee pit bull/president Randy Levine called for the commissioner’s office to forfeit the non-played 3 p.m. first game of the scheduled twinbill, saying the Yankees had bent over backward to accommodate the Devil Rays, who had no intention of getting to the baseball church on time and didn’t arrive until 6:05.

“Our point is this game should not be played unless it matters,” Levine said, “and we think it should be forfeited.”

Added Yankee GM Brian Cashman: “We’re not asking for the forfeit. We’re kind of curious why it is not being invoked. This is a mess between the Devil Rays and baseball.”"

Also I don't really remember this but it seems like what happened was TB could have left earlier for the game (in NY) as the storm intensified but chose not to, then they missed the scheduled start time, which is why NY was irritated.

https://nypost.com/2004/09/07/forfeit-yanks-shouldnt-beg/
TL/DR: Nothing seems to have actually happened here besides some shit-talking from dumbo Levine.
 

Average Reds

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I think you’ve basically proven the point. The Yankees have a track record of talking shit and then not following up on it.

In this case, the Yankees have done precisely what they are doing with Ellsbury twice before. Both times they ended up paying the contract in full, but not before smearing their own player.
 

jon abbey

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I think you’ve basically proved the point. The Yankees have a track record of talking shit and then not following up on it.

In this case, the Yankees have done precisely what they are doing with Ellsbury twice before. Both times they ended up paying the contract in full, but not before smearing their own player.
I wasn't going to respond to your first post, but since you are reiterating it, not really. Giambi and A-Rod smeared themselves, and A-Rod ended up being docked an entire year's salary.
 

jon abbey

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I mean thanks for citing it... but a Yankees exec asked MLB for a forfeit. It's not like I'm making up a story.
No, he said that to reporters but Cashman said right afterwards they weren't actually asking for that.

If your point is that Levine is a rogue douchebag who should have been fired long ago but seems to have a lifetime pass with the Steinbrenners because of the slimy deal he worked out with the city for the new stadium, sign me up for that petition.
 

tims4wins

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No, he said that to reporters but Cashman said right afterwards they weren't actually asking for that.

If your point is that Levine is a rogue douchebag who should have been fired long ago but seems to have a lifetime pass with the Steinbrenners because of the slimy deal he worked out with the city for the new stadium, sign me up for that petition.
"Before Tampa lost its eighth straight, Yankee pit bull/president Randy Levine called for the commissioner’s office to forfeit the non-played 3 p.m "

Unless that is a false statement, I don't know what to say.
 

jon abbey

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"Before Tampa lost its eighth straight, Yankee pit bull/president Randy Levine called for the commissioner’s office to forfeit the non-played 3 p.m "

Unless that is a false statement, I don't know what to say.
That is what he told reporters, they didn't actually ask that officially which is what Cashman says right after that. Please don't take the wording in a NY Post article so literally, especially when it is counterbalanced right afterwards.
 

Average Reds

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I wasn't going to respond to your first post, but since you are reiterating it, not really. Giambi and A-Rod smeared themselves, and A-Rod ended up being docked an entire year's salary.
I won’t belabor this, but I want to point out that I’m not defending ARod or Giambi. Nor am I defending Ellsbury. I’m simply pointing out that in all three cases, the Yankees launched a PR campaign and threatened to void the contract. And in the first two cases, they backed off. (And the suspension of ARod had nothing to do with voiding the contract.)

The Boone case is an outlier because there was no ambiguity about the fact that he was engaging in contractually prohibited activity. As someone who has worked in healthcare, I have difficulty believing there would be unambiguous language about a player’s inability to seek care from providers outside of the team’s control.

Having said that, there may be concerns about this specific provider. Or there may be valid concerns about the program of treatment diverging from the team-mandated process, like the Schilling example below. As the Post story suggests, this could also be an early skirmish in the coming labor war.

Edit: after being reminded of the Schilling example, I’m coming around to this being more legit than I had first considered.
 
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tims4wins

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That is what he told reporters, they didn't actually ask that officially which is what Cashman says right after that. Please don't take the wording in a NY Post article so literally, especially when it is counterbalanced right afterwards.
Fair enough.
 

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IIRC, late-career Schilling's tiff with the Red Sox centered on the player wanting to pursue one course of treatment and the team wanting another, with Schilling in jeopardy of voiding his contract if he didn't follow the team's preferred route.
 

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The irony is that I thought the Yankees organization and certainly their fans - were hoping Ellsbury wouldn't show his face the last 2 years. It was like this big running joke. Now they're gonna act all outraged by what he was doing when he was staying clear of the major league team?
 

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The irony is that I thought the Yankees organization and certainly their fans - were hoping Ellsbury wouldn't show his face the last 2 years. It was like this big running joke. Now they're gonna act all outraged by what he was doing when he was staying clear of the major league team?
I think a lot of us fans had written him off, but now I'm a lot less sure that the team did. Maybe they really did want him available over the last year or so. Given all the injuries to other players, it doesn't sound unreasonable.

But who knows? I have no idea how the insurance stuff worked or how his rehab was structured or what accountability measures were built into the process or how much (or little) Ellsbury cooperated with any of it.

I definitely thought that whatever was going on with the insurance looked shady and it implied to me that Yankees management and Ellsbury were closely working together to make sure stories were straight. I don't think that is a good assumption anymore.

The whole thing is weird and the Yankees look bad right now, but if they were doing anything shady it is going to be much, much worse. Pretty stupid to bring in a spotlight if they were. Still, organizations sometimes do stupid things and the Yankees certainly aren't immune to that.
 

InstaFace

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Boone's contract was "yanked" after the basketball injury, yes?
In fairness to the Yankees (WTF am I saying?!), that's a much more cut-and-dried situation. You can't play dangerous sports or hobbies while under contract, because you can get hurt. Everyone understands that, and like everyone says, it's black-and-white and inarguable. A few of them go skiing in the winter anyways. No one really cares unless you get hurt, but if you do get hurt, you should expect them to throw the book at you, because you selfishly let the team down and, from a business perspective, deprived them of the value of their bargain. You have some sympathy for people just playing rec basketball in a gym, trying to stay active in the winter, but he's also being paid millions of dollars not to do so.

So yeah, that's another example of the Yankees voiding a contract, but I don't think it falls into the category of "sin of not being as good as they thought he was when they signed him".

As for Ellsbury, based solely on the reported facts of "sought treatment from a licensed doctor who may or may not have had a professional error 8 years ago and is clearly being smeared by the NYDN", I have trouble feeling like this is anything except sour grapes by NYY management. Was Ellsbury taking PEDs? Is there evidence? A failed test? No? Then the complaint is that there are "suspicions" about this doctor's medical practice. Come the hell on. Absent any shenanigans with prohibited substances, all this proves is that Ellsbury was sincere about trying to get back on the field.
 

jon abbey

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As for Ellsbury, based solely on the reported facts of "sought treatment from a licensed doctor who may or may not have had a professional error 8 years ago and is clearly being smeared by the NYDN", I have trouble feeling like this is anything except sour grapes by NYY management. Was Ellsbury taking PEDs? Is there evidence? A failed test? No? Then the complaint is that there are "suspicions" about this doctor's medical practice. Come the hell on. Absent any shenanigans with prohibited substances, all this proves is that Ellsbury was sincere about trying to get back on the field.
No, I think the issue is more that he was evidently being additionally treated at this place for years without asking or informing NY, and NY recently found out. Of course, if he was doing that because he didn't trust the medical opinions/advice he was getting from the doctors NY had him going to, it gets more complicated.

Sorry if I said this already but we have heard so little about this situation from either side for over two years now (he basically disappeared into thin air since the 2017 postseason) that it is really hard to parse what is going on, at least until more comes out.