Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Z_CNHI News Service

December 5, 2013

Ellsbury is a businessman in the outfield

Jacoby Ellsbury’s jump from historic Fenway Park to Yankee Stadium will hit some Red Sox fans as an act of treachery. Players might say it’s about the rings and banners that are all but assured to those who play in the Bronx. But, in Ellsbury’s case, it’s about the Benjamins, a calculation that makes sense.

Ellsbury reportedly will get $153 million for seven years work for the Yankees. That obviously appealed to him in the short term - but there had to be long-term considerations, as well.

A friend who played professional basketball once explained to me the three stages of his athletic career: High school was about having fun. College ball was a job. The pros were all business.

What seemed like a harsh assessment at the time has proven true as I've seen players come and go. Fans see the glamour of a celebrated player’s life, but athletes in the spotlight - like Ellsbury - must know their fame is fleetingm even as obligations and expectations will surely persist.

For the Yankees, signing Ellsbury was undoubtedly a short-term move. They needed to get fans excited for the 2014 season, especially after missing the playoffs for only the second time since 1994. What better way than steal the darling of the Red Sox’s world championship team?

Ellsbury brings excitement to a team in need of good news. He’s a capable outfielder who batted .298 last year and produced a .355 on-base percentage. Hitting from the left side should help him clear the short right-field fence in Yankee Stadium more often than he did in Boston, where he had nine round-trippers in 2013.

If Ellsbury stays healthy, the Yankees should benefit from his speed. The fleet former American League all-star stole 52 bases last season.

The down side is that Ellsbury is susceptible to injuries. He played in 134 games for the Red Sox last summer. That makes the Yankees’ offer of a seven-year deal more than a stretch for someone who may have already seen his best days.

But the Yankees have always favored cashing in quickly over making long-term investments.

Not everyone is sold on this deal. Some baseball pundits are criticizing the Yankees for dumping money on a star past his peak - especially when the team has pressing holes to fill elsewhere on its roster. Those holes could include second base if Robinson Cano - who is also looking for a long-term, mega-contract - goes elsewhere.

Brett Gardner did an admirable job patrolling centerfield for New York last season. He’s expected to move to left or perhaps right to make room for Ellsbury.

In the meantime, the Yankees hope their payroll will get a break if a Major League Baseball mediator upholds the 211-game suspension on Alex Rodriquez. That will give them more room to fill the other gaps.

Back in Boston, Ellsbury’s loss takes the fizz out of any lingering World Series celebrations. The Red Sox now must set out to fill a spot in the outfield.

Jackie Bradley Jr. could be ready to step in, but Boston will need insurance just in case he’s not ready for everyday work.

In Boston, losing Ellsbury wasn’t totally unexpected. Losing him to the Yankees was.

It brings back memories of Johnny Damon's move from Boston to New York at the end of 2005 - a dreaded, heart-stopping moment. After Damon shaved his beard and headed for the Bronx, T-shirts appeared that read, "Looks like Jesus, Throws like Mary, Acts like Judas”. That’s unlikely to happen this time, though Ellsbury's move still stings.

Such loyalties aren't part of Ellsbury's personal calculations, of course, and that doesn't make him harsh.

When his contract is signed, Ellsbury won’t face any financial pressures as he watches the weeks pass until spring training. Even if the length of a playing career is never certain, his future should be. As a professional athlete, Ellsbury has learned a valuable economic lesson: Baseball is his business.

Tom Lindley is a CNHI sports columnist. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.

Tom Lindley is a CNHI sports columnist. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.

1
Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • HallofFameBraves.jpg Hall of Fame adds businesslike Braves, Frank Thomas, managers La Russa and Torre

    Atlanta Braves pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, and their manager, Bobby Cox, dominated much of baseball during the 1990s. This weekend they went into the Hall of Fame together.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brother sues W.Va. senator over business loan

    U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin's brother claims he's owed $1.7 million that he loaned to keep a family carpet out of bankruptcy in the 1980s.

    July 25, 2014

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Facebook