New York Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury hasn’t played since March 24 due to foot and hip injuries, but says he’s confident he’ll be back in 2018.
Jacoby Ellsbury is in the fifth year of the seven-year megadeal he signed with the New York Yankees in December 2013 and, despite being out since March 24 with foot and hip injuries, the former All-Star is confident he’ll play in pinstripes in 2018.
Ellsbury is continuing his rehab from plantar fasciitis and an injured hip at the Yankees complex in Tampa, Fla.
It’s been quite the medical obyssey for Ellsbury this year. He strained an oblique in spring training, injured his hip while rehabilitating from the oblique and then experienced pain in his heel.
He spoke to George A. King III of the New York Post on Friday.
The question would be where Ellsbury might fit once he is (or at this point it may be if he is) ready to play.
The Yankees enter Friday night’s game at the Tampa Bay Rays at 50-22, two games clear of the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros for the best record in baseball.
Brett Gardner, currently nursing an inflamed right knee, has been solid doing the bulk of the work in left field. Aaron Hicks has an OPS of .812 while manning center field and no one is dislodging Aaron Judge and his 19 homers and .965 OPS in right field.
Giancarlo Stanton is in the outfield mix as well, while also getting ABs as the DH, and has 18 homers and an .821 OPS after a slow start.
Throw in utility man Clint Frazier — who the Yankees can’t seem to find enough at-bats for — and there’s a logjam that only gets deeper with the return of Ellsbury.
The veteran turns 35 in September, not ideal at a time where older hitters are having more and more difficulty adjusting to pitchers who throw three speeds — hard, harder and oh, my God, did you hear that?!!! — and the fact is that Ellsbury hasn’t been that productive since coming to the Bronx in 2014.
His slash line over four seasons — two of which (2015 and 2017) were injury-shortened — is .264/.330/.386, well off the .297/.350/.439 career marks he put up in seven seasons with the Red Sox.
It’s a situation where one might be tempted to talk trade, but having not played at all this season and missing at least 50 games in two of the last three campaigns takes a significant bite out of a guy’s trade value … particularly when you throw in two more years, more than $42 million and either a $21 million team option or $5 million buyout in 2021.
Having too much depth seems like a good problem to have, but players grousing about playing time can tend to put a damper on things such as clubhouse morale, so it’s a situation worth watching.