DETROIT -- Jacoby Ellsbury is on pace to become one of the worst free-agent signings in New York Yankees history. He still has plenty of time to change the narrative -- his contract, for goodness' sake, doesn't end until after the 2020 season -- but as Yogi supposedly once said, "It gets late early around here."
Ellsbury is on the clock for his seven-year, $153 million contract. He needs to be a reason the Yankees win games, not be unhelpful like he was during the Yankees' 4-0 loss in the Detroit Tigers' home opener Friday.
With Joe Girardi penciling in a "Fight for another day" lineup, giving the fourth game of the season off to Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann, Ellsbury was one of the bold-faced names in the lineup, even if he usually doesn't play like one.
Instead, Ellsbury lost a fly ball in the fourth that helped the Tigers tack on two runs on a somewhat unlucky Yankees starter, Luis Severino. The Yankees (2-2) were shut down by Jordan Zimmermann, so it is not like it was all on Ellsbury, but he didn't help, which has been a recurring theme in his first two seasons since he crossed rivalry lines from Boston to New York.
Maybe $21 million per year doesn't get you what it used to, but the 32-year-old Ellsbury -- when he isn't hurt -- has been a very average player. In his two seasons in pinstripes, he is a .265 hitter with a .710 OPS. He has four hits in 18 at-bats (.222) so far this year. He is an above-average fielder, though that wasn't the case on Friday.
It is not Ellsbury's fault that his agent, Scott Boras, masterly used the Robinson Cano situation to entice the Yankees into giving Ellsbury an exorbitant, $153 million contract in the winter of 2013. But more and more it is looking like a really bad deal for the Yankees.
The thinking was that the Yankees would get their money's worth during the first few years of the contract, which raises the question: If not now, then when?