Ellsbury, Yankees agree to 7-year deal

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Ellsbury, Yankees agree to 7-year deal
December 3, 2013, 8:15 pm
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ELLSBURY TO THE YANKEES

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In a move eerily reminiscent of one made by Johnny Damon some eight years ago, free agent Jacoby Ellsbury has left the Red Sox in favor of the New York Yankees.

According to an industry source, Ellsbury has agreed to a seven-year deal with the Yankees for $153 million with an option for an eighth season.

The signing is the second big acquisition by the Yankees in the last two weeks. They also signed free agent catcher Brian McCann to a five-year $85 million deal two weeks ago.

The deal for Ellsbury is $11 million more than the ill-fated deal the Red Sox signed outfielder Carl Crawford to after the 2010 season.

Like Damon, Ellsbury was a left-handed hitting, leadoff center fielder with a weak arm, represented by agent Scott Boras.

While industry speculation had Ellsbury leaving Boston this winter, with the Sox unwilling to hand out a nine-figure deal to retain him, it was thought that Ellsbury would likely sign with a team on the West Coast, and do so much later in the off-season.

The Yankees weren't expected to be big players for Ellsbury, since they have their own marquee free agent, Robinson Cano, to worry about. Further, the Yankees were on record as wanting to get under the $189 luxury tax threshold for 2014, with an eye toward re-setting their luxury tax rate.

Instead, the Yankees have splurged with two big signings worth a combined $238 million and aren't done yet. Multiple reports have the Yankees still interested in re-signing Cano.

The Yankees spending spree is not unlike the one the team undertook the last time they missed the post-season. After 2008, the Yankees signed CC Sabathia, Mark Texeira and A.J. Burnett and won the World Series a year later.

The Sox had been braced for Ellsbury's loss, but likely weren't expecting the outfielder would sign with their arch-rivals.

Boston could go with Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field as Ellsbury's replacement, or shift Shane Victorino to center and go after another right fielder.

FoxSports.com reported Tuesday night that the Sox are in the running for Shin-Soo Choo, like Ellsbury, a Boras client. Choo could play right with Victorino moving over to center.

Choo could also replace Ellsbury as the team's leadoff hitter.