Why Jacoby Ellsbury Makes Sense for the Marlins
The Miami Marlins are looking to upgrade their offense any way possible. The Marlins outfielders last season really did not hit well. They combined for an average of .227 with a total of 8 home-runs among all the players with a mind boggling 181 strikeouts and only 31 walks. The team has expressed vast interest in upgrading the offense and many think one will come in the outfield.
A low risk but high reward can come in signing now former Yankee outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury was released by the Yankees on Wednesday prior to the rule 5 draft protection deadline. The Yankees needed to make room for some prospects they needed to add to the 40 man roster and so releasing Ellsbury is one of the moves they decided to make. Ellsbury is owed around $26.3 million by the Yankees when you put everything together. In 2020, New York owes him just over $21 million and they will no doubt exercise the $5 million buyout rather than accepting $21 million team option for 2021. With this, the Marlins can offer Ellsbury a league minimum MLB contract which just went up for next season and will be around $563k, or they can offer him a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training along with incentives if he makes the big league club.
Ellsbury has not played since the 2017 season and has suffered a few gruesome injuries that have delayed his return to the big leagues. Whenever he was close to coming back things just kept getting worse. In Spring Training 2018, Ellsbury injured an oblique muscle in his right side and later had back problems and needed to go through hip surgery. However, according to Ellsbury and his representatives, he is not giving up on a comeback. According to the NY Post, a source close to Ellsbury said “He’s finishing up his rehab with a focus on Spring Training. I’m sure he will try to play in 2020.”
Ellsbury has a career 31.1 WAR and although 36 years old, he can be a nice impact on the field and in the clubhouse on a young Marlins team. The main thing with Ellsbury is trying to keep him healthy. If the left-handed hitting outfielder can be consistent with his health, he can be a high-reward low cost player for the team who is always scanning the market for bargains. Miami last season brought in Curtis Granderson (a former Yankee) to play some outfield and really be a mentor to the younger players. Many players in the clubhouse praised how much Granderson had helped all of them.
Bringing Ellsbury over can also give the Marlins another option in center-field. Lewis Brinson was given numerous opportunities again last season and really could not find his own at the plate. The Marlins organization has stated publicly that Brinson will “need to produce,” if he wants to stay in the big leagues. Last year, J.T. Riddle and Magneuris Sierra also got their reps in center field but neither are really bright options for the Marlins going into next season.
Along with every Yankee connection that there is with the Marlins, it is sometimes obvious but important to note that Gary Denbo was in the Yankees organization when Ellsbury was there. I really think the opportunity of getting him will come with his insight.