Unless the Yankees can trade him in the offseason, Jacoby Ellsbury will report to spring training as their fourth outfielder, Brian Cashman said Tuesday at the general managers’ meetings in Orlando, Florida.
In making the unsurprising declaration, Cashman supported the outfield alignment the Yankees used during the postseason. From left to right, Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks and Aaron Judge will start, with Ellsbury looking for at-bats as a spare outfielder and designated hitter.
Of course, that’s not what Cashman expected when he signed Ellsbury before the 2014 season to a seven-year, $153-million free-agent contract that includes a full no-trade clause. Ellsbury, 34, still has three years and more than $63 million to go plus a $21-million option for 2021 or a $5-million buyout.
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It’s fair to say that contract is some of agent Scott Boras’ best work. Not so much for Cashman, who will try to move Ellsbury to another team.
“Jacoby’s going to come in and compete,” Cashman said. “We ended with the current setup of Judge in right, Hicks in center and Gardy in left for a reason. They were the best that we had, and so I think we would anticipate going in that way again. But that doesn’t mean people can’t flip scripts, either. I have had people asking me about our players and seeing if they can find matches to compel us to consider making any moves, so we’ll see what happens. I’m not saying that specifically Jacoby Ellsbury-wise, I’m saying that generally.”
Cashman said he has not spoken to Boras about Ellsbury agreeing to waive his no-trade clause. Yet.
“I have not had any dialogue with Scott, haven’t even approached Scott,” Cashman said. “I would make sure I would stay ahead of it and try to include anybody in the process on their side of it to make sure it’s handled in the proper way. They have the full no-trade for a reason, and I would walk through that process with the highest level of communication and respect because of it.
“But he can still be a viable member here and he will be unless circumstances develop from outside interests, as well as their participation. It’s as simple as that. It’s not that complicated.”
Gardner, in lower Manhattan to accept the “Heart and Hustle” award at the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association dinner, said of Ellsbury: “These player personnel things, they all have a way of shaking out how they’re supposed to. You go into spring or go into the offseason thinking one thing and it ends up being something different. . . . I love Jacoby and all those guys. As outfielders we all have a special bond.”
Notes & quotes: John Flaherty said the Yankees have not contacted him since he expressed interest in their manager’s job . . . . Jim Leyritz said he called Cashman to apply for a coaching job, but said Cashman told him he didn’t have enough experience . . . Gardner on whether Carlos Beltran would make a good Yankees manager: “It’s funny — he just retired, what was it, two days ago? Carlos is one of my all-time favorite teammates. He’s a guy that he walks in the room and he commands a certain amount of respect. Not just the things he’s accomplished over the years on the field, but the way that he treats people, the kind of teammate that he is. I was happy to see him go out on a high note this year, winning the World Series. I hated that it wasn’t with us. If (managing) is something he’s interested in, that’s something I would obviously pull for him.”