Seriously, thank you Jacoby Ellsbury.
I need to be clear, I am not complimenting Jacoby Ellsbury. This is not a thank you for his service (or lack thereof).
Jacoby Ellsbury changed the Yankees. Specifically how the Yankees operate.
I have long suspected the massive criticism and backlash from that horrible contract that Ellsbury was signed to made Hal Steinbrenner rethink how to run the Yankees.
I don’t think the Jacoby Ellsbury deal was a Brian Cashman deal. The Steinbrenners have always been heavily involved in free agency, I think the Ellsbury deal was the final Steinbrenner-initiated signing. Removing the Steinbrenners from free agency sparked the resurgence of the Yankees developing their talent.
I truly suspect that Hal Steinbrenner was so embarrassed by the criticism of the Ellsbury deal. From this point forward we saw a shift in the way the organization operates. The Yankees have not made much of a splash in free agency since the Ellsbury deal. They have stayed relatively quiet, shopping in the bargain aisle for steals and deals. They returned to developing talent from within. Years ago we would have seen guys like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, etc get traded at the deadline and go on to success with other teams.
Scouting and analytics have taken the forefront of the Yankees model, they aren’t overpaying for free agent busts like Ellsbury anymore. Instead, we have seen them take a more cautious approach and not sign guys like Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, and others.
Jacoby Ellsbury’s disastrous Yankees career truly made the Yankees better, for that, I thank you.