Jacoby Ellsbury handling lineup demotion well

When the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury to that lucrative yet controversial contract, the last thing they expected was he would hit fifth in the lineup.

But, here we are.

Year four of the seven year contract, and Ellsbury is now hitting in the middle of the lineup. The Yankees made good on their word by separating Ellsbury and Brett Gardner at the top of the order, and went even further when they slotted Gary Sanchez in the two-hole.

On Wednesday, a day after Ellsbury was slotted fifth in the lineup, Girardi approached Ellsbury to talk about the change.

“I talked to him about it before,” Ellsbury said, prior to the Yankees defeating the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 in exhibition play. “He asked me what I thought. [I said] whatever’s best for the team.”

Asked if he thought it helped the team, Ellsbury said: “If [Girardi] feels that way, I feel that way.’’

The change in the order won’t last forever. Girardi will have to make another lineup decision in May when Didi Gregorius is slated to return from a shoulder strain.

Even Ellsbury isn’t convinced the move will be set in stone. A lot could change between now and Opening Day, which happens to be on Sunday.

“It’s not even set in stone,” Ellsbury said. “We’re talking about something that’s not even for sure. … That’s Opening Day. Day Two, it could be a different lineup [depending on] lefty [or] righty. It’s one game out of 162.”

Ellsbury signed with the Yankees after hitting .297/.350/.439 in seven seasons with the Boston Red Sox. However, since coming to the Bronx, he’s hit a pedestrian .264/.326/.382 in parts of three seasons despite an annual salary north of $21 million per year. The Yankees are in the middle of a semi-rebuild and with 7/1 odds of winning the division this season, they will need Ellsbury to hit more like he did back in his days with the Sox.

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12 Responses to Jacoby Ellsbury handling lineup demotion well

  1. Jerry says:

    Batting 5th is hardly a demotion. I would have kept him in the lead off spot and lowered Gardner, but no big deal. 1 through 5 are normally your best hitters. Ellsbury will still probably run a lot more and the ceiling on Ellsbury is higher than Gardner.

    • Guy with the higher OBP goes in the leadoff spot in this case. But yeah, they're pretty similar players so it's not a big deal.

    • Olie says:

      Have to agree with u Jerry and I suspect by the allstar break Ellsbury will be leading off! When healthy as he is now, he is twice the hitter as Gardner!

      • Gardner since 2014: .259/.340/.395. Or Ellsbury since 2014: .264/.326/.382. Twice the hitter? Somebody needs to go back to elementary school math class.

        • Olie says:

          Always was the shits at math but as I clearly stated "When healthy" (U may want to brush up a bit yourself) which he hasn't been for a few years. There is a reason He gets paid what he does and Gardner gets what he does, that is the math that counts! But twice the hitter could be a bit of stretch! PS! Good thing I married a elementary school teacher!

  2. Jerry says:

    Truth of the matter, they both disappoint me, and I can't wait for their departure. Maybe Torres or Mateo at the top soon. Ellsbury before coming to the Yankees was a superior player than Gardner, but now they are similar. I still have false hopes that Ellsbury can regain his former stature. I would still take him over Gardner, only because of his once prominent play. I'm not a fan of either.

  3. Olie says:

    Jerry ,I have not missed a televised Yankees game this spring and Ellsbury is a different hitter driving ball all over field. I will be watching out for the bandwagon fans this year so now is the time to get back on board! Trust me!

  4. Jerry says:

    I would love Ellsbury to be Ellsbury again, what a great boost to the lineup that would be. He's known to be one of the best athletes on the team. I'll jump on that bandwagon.

  5. hotdog says:

    The problem is you can never count on Ellsbury being the old Ellsbury for long…he’s very inconsistent…he usually has one or two good months/year but it never carries throughout the season…so he can look good today until tomorrow…at this point if he can bring his average up about 10-20 points from 2016 and hit with a little more authority, i’d be happy…Ellsbury is just not going to be the Ellsbury of old but he probably can still be better than he’s shown…

  6. Terry says:

    I would love to see the old Ells show up for an entire year but the truth is he hasn't been able to stay healthy. Now that he's getting older it becomes even more likely he'll battle those nagging injuries that drag your offensive game down. I know I've said it before but please forgive me, most ML players go through good spurts. The problem is, when your bad spurts start to way out number your good ones. That's where Ells is now. I haven't seen all the games but there is a difference between his driving the ball and the power guys. I truly hope he has a great bounce back year but I won't be looking too hard for that bandwagon.

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