The New York Yankees' modus operandi has been pretty simple in recent years — wait until a player rises to elite status, then snatch him up with a gaudy contract. Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, and Vernon Wells were all among the top 10 highest paid payers of 2013, and all four spent at least seven years gaining major league experience on someone else's roster before the Yankees, the richest team in baseball, came calling.
On Tuesday, Jacoby Ellsbury, a member of the Navajo and Colorado River Indian tribes, is poised to become the Yankees' latest pricey pickup when he signs a seven-year, $153 million contract. The deal will make him the third-highest paid outfielder in Major League Baseball history.
Ellsbury leaves the Boston Red Sox, where he was an integral part of the team's 2013 World Series-winning team. Losing the star to the rival Yankees has stung passionate Boston fans, who are predictably accusing Ellsbury of being a traitor (or "trader"). They've seen this happen before — Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, Johnny Damon, and even Babe Ruth were all Red Sox who became Yankees.
Ellsbury has yet to make a public statement on the trade, but Damon offered his thoughts in an interview with MLB.com. "The good thing is Jacoby brought two World Series championships to Boston and he's a heck of a player," Damon said. "Unfortunately for Boston fans, this is kind of what happens sometimes."
According to reports, Boston's recent budget-cutting efforts played a role — the franchise wasn't wiling to go as high as the Yankees. Damon offered empathy on that front as well. "As much as your heart belonged to Boston and everything, it comes down to being a business," Damon said. "Unfortunately, we're part of that. I wish him the best."