Well, 2018 is over before it really began for veteran outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. The well-paid 34-year-old underwent surgery on a torn labrum in his left hip in New York City on Monday, ending the season after just a handful of at-bats in Spring Training. “The surgery went as expected,” per the team’s announcement Tuesday.
Ellsbury, who signed a seven-year, $153 million contract prior to the 2014 season, had not appeared in a game at any level since March 24. He went 1-for-14 in the Grapefruit League before being shut down. The Yankees placed him on the 10-day disabled list March 29, retroactive to March 26, with a right oblique strain prior to the opening series in Toronto. He was then moved to the 60-day disabled list May 2 so that the Yankees could select the contract of pitcher David Hale. Ellsbury reportedly was also dealing with a back issue and plantar fasciitis while attempting to rehab his oblique strain.
The signing of Ellsbury has been repeatedly cited as one of general manager Brian Cashman‘s few failures. After six years in Boston highlighted by a 2011 season where he finished as the runner-up for American League MVP, Ellsbury has hit just .264/.330/.386 with issues staying on the field since joining the Yankees. Not exactly the statistics you want from a player making over $21 million annually. The Yankees are stuck paying him until after the 2020 season, since they’ll certainly pay the $5 million buyout of his 2021 team option.
The announcement comes at a curious time since the Yankees ironically are in need of an extra quality outfielder at the moment. Aaron Judge is expected to miss a few more weeks with the micro-fracture in his right wrist, and Giancarlo Stanton is dealing with some tightness in his left hamstring. Clint Frazier is still working his way back through post-concussion migraines, so there is no firm timetable for his availability. So, it seems the Yanks are stuck with Shane Robinson for the time being.
It seems our next Ellsbury sighting will come in Tampa in February 2019.