Mike from A-Town: Ecstatic about Ellsbury's exit

Mike from A-Town: Ecstatic about Ellsbury's exit
December 7, 2013, 12:00 pm
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(AP Photo)

Jacoby Ellsbury is gone and as Red Sox fans you should be ecstatic about it for two very important reasons.
 
First, the Sox will not be on the hook for seven years and $153 million to a chronically fragile 30-plus wussbag.
 
No more Front and Back.  No more second opinions.  No more rehab vacations in Arizona and no more early onset osteoporosis or broken ribs that take more than two trimesters to heal.

Jacoby is the Yankees' problem now and I hope they left plenty of room in their budget for X-Rays and Cal-Citrate.
 
Will he play well for the Yankees?  Absolutely.  He’s a very good three-tool player that will regain the power he had in 2011 simply by playing half his games in Williamsport North.  But now that he has cashed in, the incentive to stay in the lineup when not 100 percent healthy is gone. He’s a player who's always been (rightly) labeled as soft, and his alliance with super-agent/unholy entity Scott Boras just exacerbated it.  Now that he’s only playing for Jacoby, there will be more ouchies, boo-boos and bouts of “Intestinal turmoil” keeping him out of the lineup than ever before.
 
Brian Cashman must have forgotten what Bernie Williams, (seemingly the only Yankee during their dynastic years to have a vaguely human career arc), looked like at the tail end of his seven-year deal.  And unlike 'Ol Porridge Ribs,  Bernie possessed a post-pubescent pain threshold.  
 
The bottom line, cash wise, is the Sox paid just under $21 million — total  -- for the prime of Ellsbury’s speed-dependent career. The Yankees get the privilege of paying almost $22 million each year for the next seven to watch him become slower, more brittle and less and less effective.
 
And as a lovely cherry on top, the Yankees lose a pick, while the Red Sox get a supplemental draft pick for Ellsbury, who was a supplemental pick himself. 

Which brings me to the second -- and by far more important -- reason you should be happy the Sox let Ellsbury walk:
 
The Red Sox' baseball decisions are once again 100 percent baseball decisions.
 
The business plan that fostered titles in 2004 and 2007 is apparently back.  Build a team smartly without letting emotion, the TV show or Tom Werner influence it one bit. Draft and develop elite talent and use free agency to fill the remaining holes.
 
Ellsbury was obviously huge with a certain portion of the fanbase and re-signing him would have more that fit the modus operandi of ownership faction that valued “sex appeal”.  What the team loses at the pro shop as Bedazzled Ellsbury gear is put on clearance, is a fraction of what is almost instantly reclaimed by simply not paying for a very good players decline.
 
This is what worked for the Sox in 2004.  Orlando Cabrera, Derek Lowe, and Pedro Martinez were all allowed to walk in free agency, netting the Sox six compensatory draft picks.  That crop netted Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden, Craig Hanson and Jed Lowrie, who all made it to the show with the Sox.  Did they all work out? No. But they all contributed to either the major-league team directly or added to the organizational depth in the minors that helped future acquisitions.  And the financial commitment they required was a fraction of a fraction of what re-signing the veterans would have been. 
 
After the 2007 title, the front office lost its way.  They let sentimentality and fan favoritism cloud what should have been easy choices.  The re-signing of 2007 World Series MVP Mike Lowell and extension of Playoff MVP Josh Beckett’s contract represented a fundamental shift in how this team did business.  At the very least, four draft picks were left on the table in exchange for paying tens of millions to watch Mike Lowell’s hip age faster than Robin Williams in Jack, and Beckett’s attitude poison the pitching staff.  What followed were pseudo-bridge years, superfluous multiyear free-agent signings, and a season so disastrous it required a roster liquidation that would’ve made the Marlins cringe.
 
After the Sox miraculously emerged as champions from that organizational disaster, some, including myself, were worried that the non-baseball-related influences would again seep back into the on field decision making.
 
But allowing 'Ol Porridge Ribs to sign with their long-time bitter rivals and subbing Jarrod Saltalamacchia for A.J. Pierzynski dispelled my fears quickly.  Replacing the likeable Salty with a Hall-of-Fame caliber pain in the ass, and letting a star who would miss a game if he had a pain in the ass walk, was a clear indication to me that Baseball Ops is firmly in Ben Cherington’s control once again. And Dustin Pedroia’s long-term extension shows that the team is still willing to spend money long term when it feels the fit is perfect.
 
Once again, cold, calculated, ruthless decision making is what rules on Yawkey Way.  As a result the Sox may need to look around for a new franchise center fielder but they won’t need Magic Johnson’s phone number again anytime soon.
 
Thanks for the memories and the two World Series, Jacoby. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, 'cause it would probably send you back to the DL.