The New York Yankees continue to move forward with their offseason plans by signing former Boston Red Sox free agent centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury to a 7-year $153M contract that includes an option for an 8th year that could push the total value of the deal to $169M.
Ellsbury will take over centerfield pushing Brett Gardner to left field and Alfonso Soriano over to right. In 2013 Ellsbury appeared in 134 games posting a slash line of .298/.355/.426 with 9 home runs and 92 runs scored. He also stole 52 bases in 56 attempts. He played solid defense and overall had a wRC+ of 113 and a fWAR of 5.8.
It has long been believed that the Yankees were attempting to get beneath the luxury tax threshold but the rotation needs two starting pitchers, the bullpen lacks a proven closer, and the Robinson Cano signing still looms over the team so staying below the threshold will be a difficult task.
Of course, if Alex Rodriguez suspension is upheld his over $20M in AAV will not count toward the payroll giving the Yankees additional wiggle room to fill other needs.