Saturday, November 23, 2019

It's hard to imagine, but the Jacoby Ellsbury situation just turned worse

Well, this has turned rancid...

To get paid, Jacoby Ellsbury will have to sue the Yankees. The franchise intends to withhold $26 million - pay for the final year of his contract - because Ellsbury sought medical treatment at a clinic unapproved by the club.

A technicality. That's what they call it. 

Weird, eh? Were I a professional jock with never-ending gonadal tweaks like Ellsbury, I'd comb the earth, seeking treatment from whomever might offer hope - Tibetan monks, hypnotists or goat yoga-ists. To get healthy, I'd even try Tony Robbins. As long as you were seeking to get better, you'd think the poobahs would support you. Is that crazy to think? 

Well, apparently, Ellsbury missed the fine print.

Okay, I get it... This is a lawyer thing. From here, it's impossible to know who's right. (And in court, that might not even matter.) Nothing will change the fact that the Yankees' signing of Ellsbury will go down as worst in team history - until Giancarlo claims the throne. But nobody forced us to give Ellsbury - a walking Chernobyl in Boston - a seven-year deal. Did anybody think that, in the end, it wouldn't explode in our hands?

What's unnerving is how this move could define the Yankees, as free agent suitors. Here at IT IS HIGH, we've already dispensed with the Gammonites' fantasy notion that Food Stamps Hal Steinbrenner will sign Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg. Nope. The Yankees will "talk" with them, in the way that drunk Nixon talked to Teddy Roosevelt's White House portrait. But if players cannot trust the Yankees to fulfill their contacts, will we sign the next DJ LeMahieu? 

Relations between the players union and the owners cartel have never been worse. Used to be, the Yankees stood firm as big spenders, willing to pay established stars for past performance. Old George Steinbrenner saw the value of bringing marquee stars to Gotham, even when past their sell-by dates. We suffered some brutal seasons - the worst teams money could buy - yet George still coveted graying versions of Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens and Ichiro. And even when things went sideways, the Yankees never poor-mouthed. 

Well, that changed with Hal, who went after today's Mr. Popularity, Alex Rodriguez, with ice picks and chainsaws. Let's face it: The world has changed. Baseball is a phenom's game, and every long-term deal will be doomed at the end. Still, I never thought the richest team in baseball would try to slither out from its contractual obligations. Just goes to show you: Nobody's tighter than a billionaire.


Der Kaiser said...

Talk about self sabotage! I hadn't even thought about the impact this sort of behaviour might have on the team's attractiveness to free agents, though it may not much matter if Cashbrenner is planning to ignore useful free agents for another offseason. I suppose it was foolish of Ellsbury to have anything to do with unapproved treatments, and you would think that given his many years as a major league DL, he wouldn't make such a rookie mistake. But considering his theoretical job over the past two (or five) years was to get healthy, it makes sense that he would leave no stone unturned, and the team might be happy if he looked outside the organisation and they didn't have to foot the entire bill. What really bothers me is the timing. When was he receiving this unapproved treatment? It seems hard to believe that they just caught wind of it as they were releasing him. Did the Yankees know about it before and let it continue, figuring that it would give them an out to void his last contract year? That seems legally questionable and morally reprehensible. So the Yankees can surely count on the full support of MLB...

TheWinWarblist said...

Remember when George would have signed both Cole and Strasburg? Do you remember that time when the Yankees were the Yankees?

Local Bargain Jerk said...

Der Kaiser, you're raising an interesting point.

Ellsbury's lawyers should have included a few words in Ellsbury's contract to the effect that, in the event Ellsbury was in breach of a clause in the contract that specified where he could receive treatment, the Yankees would have to notify Ellsbury in writing within N days of the breach and then give Ellsbury N days to stop receiving the forbidden treatment.

If the above makes sense, then I would look at it as follows:

=> If Ellsbury's lawyers included such a clause, it should be a straightforward matter to sort out whether all the rules were followed on both sides.

=> If Ellsbury's lawyers didn't draft the contract this way, then shame on them and shame on Ellsbury.

=> In either case, if the Yankees did not address what they are now calling a contract breach with Ellsbury at the time they learned he sought outside help, then shame on them. And by "them", I mean everyone's favorite curly-red-haired lawyer, Randy Levine. This has Levine's fingerprints all over it.

TheWinWarblist said...

I wish illness on you Hal. I wish cancer and death on you. A cruel debilitating cancer that deprives you of your ability to "lead" this noble franchise and then after interminable suffering takes your life before your time.

Benedícat vos omnípotens Georgius, et Scooter, et Mantleus, et Spíritus Jeterus.

So endeth the JuJu.

JM said...

On one hand, it does bug me that guys like Ells and John Carlo get 20 million-plus bucks for going to the trainer's room for a year. I understand that players have a shelf life, so they have to get whatever they can in their contracts, but it always seemed a little weird that they can collect full pay for an entire season in which they never play a game. Try that at your job and see how it goes.

On the other hand, Hal is a vile pestilence who doesn't spend money on quality free agents unless said agents aren't quality. Then uses that as an excuse to not spend money on actual quality free agents. And he always has an insurance policy that lets him recoup at least a good chunk of the millionaire Jacuzzi sitters' salaries.

So, on balance, and looking at all aspects of this case in a fair and impartial manner, I say Hal should not pay Ells for the last year of his contract, but should be forced to eat $26 million in nickels at one sitting.

It's faster than cancer, Winnie.

13bit said...

Hal McScrooge and Randy the Buggering Fool were sitting around the fire, eating pineapple fritters for Christmas breakfast...

Anonymous said...

Not to give the Yankees front office any wiggle room but...

Just for a moment let's say that, in the opinion of the front office, Jacoby (who has been rehabbing for YEARS) wasn't really putting in the time and the effort to make it back to the field.

Remember this is a player with a reputation for "slow healing" as opposed to being a warrior. Playing with discomfort or pain is just not in his DNA.

(This is one of the sources of our Stanton fears. Who sits out ACLS games with a calf strain?)

So perhaps the front office takes the view that Jacoby has been essentially "stealing money" for years and they saw a loophole to get some of it back.

I am not saying this is true. I'm just gaming it out. It's more likely that they are just greedy. I'm not a fan of either side.

That said, it's possible.

Doug K.

Anonymous said...









JM said...

Which reminds me, I got into a back and forth with a guy on Twitter about John Carlo. He was pro, I was con. He pointed out that we were 5-0 in the postseason when Stanton played. I pointed out that said record had nothing to do with Stanton.

We agreed to disagree.

Hal can put whipped cream on the nickels if it helps. I do have some mercy.

TheWinWarblist said...

No whipped cream for Hal. Castor oil.

Sorry, meant to say Castro motor oil.

Anonymous said...

If I was a free agent ballplayer, and I saw that the Yankees have no intention to honor their stupid contracts, I would not sign here. What use is a huge contract if they have no intention of making good on the last year or two? They knew what they were doing when they signed him. It was a guaranteed contract, not a make good, get paid as you play contract. I think that it's shameful. And it'll have a negative impact on future free agent negotiations. If nothing else, free agents will demand even more money per year, as they will think that the Yankees have no intention of making good on the last year or two on the contract.

The Hammer of God

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