When a team signs someone to a huge contract, they are expecting someone to be a productive piece for years to come. Jacoby Ellsbury , who signed a 7 year/$153 million dollar deal in 2014, hasn’t exactly been “productive” ever since he arrived to the Bronx to play for the Yankees. He’s had a few moments where he’s shown he is back to his truest potential, but over the last month and a half he has really played well enough to stay in the starting lineup on a team in the thick of the playoff race.
In terms of hitting in the first 3 seasons with the Yankees, he wasn’t as “awful” as many fans say he was. He slashed .264/.326/.382, but did only hit 32 home runs in that span. The power potential was definitely something upper management saw in Ellsbury, who hit 32 homers in one of his seasons as a Boston Red Sox. He’s also had his fair share of injuries in his hip and both Knees, which sidelined him for a good amount of time while with the yanks. He has been mocked by many who say he is made of “glass” and could be for good reason, as it seems every time he’s run into something or seemed to tweak something it then leads to something bigger.
In the first 4 months of this season, he slashed .235/.310/.344 and hit just 3 homers. It seemed like another down year for him at the plate. On top of his hitting, it can be easily seen that his arm isn’t great and his time as a gold glove caliber outfielder might be up. To sum it up, he wasn’t nearly playing well enough to be worth the contract he received, which still hurts to think about as a Yankees fan.
Entering the month of August there’s the sniff of playoff baseball around the corner, which means players will do their very best to help out their team and somehow Ellsbury has been that man. Combine the entire month of August and the time he’s played so far in September entering Monday, he has slashed .332/.420/.512 with 3 homers. He has hit over .400 in September alone, and entering Monday has hit safely in 16 of his last 17 games played. This includes having an eight game hitting streak. Talk about a man on fire!
Whether it was his big hit against Cleveland early in August that sparked the offense and lead them to a split in the series, his 3 for 3 game against the Red Sox and Chris Sale where they eventually won 3 out of 4 against them, or just coming up as a pinch-hitter and providing a quality at-bat or being a pest on the bases as a pinch-hitter; he’s been an important piece lately in the Yankees run for a playoff spot. Has he lived up up to his potential and contract just in that small time-frame? Of course not, and I don’t think anyone expects him too in that short amount of time. However, what we do value as fans, is someone going out there and consistently producing and helping the team win in the most opportune of times. Even in all this talk about the younger kids on the team, Jacoby Ellsbury has found a way to become a major facilitator and has had no problem taking a backseat to anyone on this Yankees team.