Ellsbury to New York, Part Five: Tale of two teams

Ellsbury to New York, Part Five: Tale of two teams
December 4, 2013, 3:00 pm
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ELLSBURY TO THE YANKEES

The last of five thoughts, after a most busy day, about the fallout from Jacoby Ellsbury leaving the Red Sox to sign a seven-year, $153 million deal with the New York Yankees.

Thought Five: The Jacoby Ellsbury signing also brings to light the contrast between the two franchises.

While the Red Sox saw the error of their ways in trying to create a star-laden team and cashed out with their mega-swap with the Los Angeles Dodgers in August of 2012, the Yankees, led by team president Randy Levine, are very much star-driven.

The Yankees saw attendance droop and TV ratings fell an alarming 31 percent. Levine believes that New York is a market that is driven by big names and star players.

The Red Sox, by contrast, just last week reiterated their opposition to long-term deals like the one signed by Ellsbury and the Yankees.

That's not to suggest that the Red Sox are about to become a mid-market franchise with an average payroll. The Sox were fourth among MLB teams last season and will be among the top five again in 2014.

But the Sox prefer shorter-term deals with an emphasis on player development and are positioned to field a contending team for the foreseeable future. The Yanks, on the other hand, have a barren farm system and have already forfeited their top two picks in next June's draft with the signing of Ellsbury and Brian McCann. They're about making a splash and star power.

All of which provides an interesting subtext to the A.L. East race in 2014 and beyond.