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Lack of outrage over Jacoby Ellsbury’s departure easy to understand

Posted by Adam Kaufman  December 6, 2013 07:30 AM

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It’s been a popular topic for sports talk radio over the last few days:

Why the lack of local fan outrage over Jacoby Ellsbury’s free agent move to the Yankees?

Seems, to me, pretty easy to understand, and it all ultimately revolves around the money.

Ellsbury is a good player and one who’s well worth a long-term commitment, but an average of nearly $22 million over seven years is absurd for a man of his skill set and checkered health history. Had he left for, say, $17 million or so per year, Red Sox supporters would likely be up in arms over the team’s decision not to shell out some of that Dodgers money rather than creating what’s currently a massive uncertainty in center field – one that I’m guessing won’t be a mystery for long – but those dollars were almost universally deemed ridiculous.

I fully support Jackie Bradley Jr. as the club’s Gold Glove-caliber, modestly compensated middle outfielder, but it would be a surprise if the Sox didn’t add a veteran (Carlos Beltran would be nice, but may be too pricey) or an inexpensive complement in the event the youngster gets off to another rough start.

Getting back to Ellsbury, why have the Johnny Damon comparisons and traitor accusations dissipated so quickly? Partially because, even though he came up through the system and was a World Series hero, he never quite felt like one of Boston’s own. As Chad Finn appropriately wrote, the Oregon native seemed far more of a mercenary or hired gun for the last seven years – when he was actually on the field.

That brings me to the other reason, which centers on the cash and length of the signing. That deal from the Yankees is viewed as so laughably bad from the outset that few people, folks in New York included, believe the contract won’t blow up in the Bombers’ faces. Ellsbury may be very good for the next few years if he’s healthy, but how about the second half of the agreement? Looks like another nine-figure Yankees pact waiting to go bad.

Some other thoughts…

  • Sticking with the Red Sox, I hope to be chastised in about 10 months for being wrong, but I don’t like the A.J. Pierzynski addition. As I’ve written about for weeks, I’d much prefer Boston stuck with known and improving commodity Jarrod Saltalamacchia for three more years at very reasonable money. Miami’s $21 million deal with the now former Sox catcher will prove to be a steal. In saying that, I’m more comfortable with Pierzynski than Ryan Lavarnway getting the starting nod.
  • Edward Mujica? I like it. He’s exactly the type of player I wanted to see the team add to help bridge the gap to Koji Uehara at the trade deadline last season, not that they wound up needing the bullpen help down the stretch. Of course, he couldn’t even help his own team in October. Still, he’s 29, has pin-point control (5 walks in 64 2/3 innings in 2013), and had a tremendous first five months of the season (1.73 ERA) before a painful September hiccup (11.05 ERA). Mujica made only two postseason appearances.
  • Robinson Cano reportedly reached a 10-year deal from the Mariners for $240 million on Friday. The Yankees opted to overpay Ellsbury instead. Time for some “man on the street” interviews in Queens. This could get ugly fast.
  • There was obviously a certain irony in Max Pacioretty’s injuring of Johnny Boychuk in last night’s Bruins loss, since the Canadiens forward was on the receiving end of a Zdeno Chara thumping nearly three years ago. Montreal fans wanted Chara imprisoned for that hit. Something tells me the Boston faithful will be a little more understanding, especially if the defenseman’s supposed lower back injury isn’t serious, as reported by
  • Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in a radio interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub on Thursday that Rajon Rondo isn’t close to a return and is at least a few weeks away. In other words, we’ll see the All-Star point guard in 2014. For those rooting for a high lottery pick, that’s good news. Brad Stevens’ crew is in first place – at 8-12! – in a terrible Atlantic Division, and would currently host a first-round playoff series in an even more miserable Eastern Conference. If it makes fans on the Tank Train happy, though, a C’s loss coupled with a Sixers win would drop Boston all the way down to ninth in the conference. But, really, the season still has 76 percent of its games remaining. Bit early to scoreboard-watch.
  • The Patriots should be 10-3 by Sunday evening. Then again, the Texans – now losers of 11 straight after allowing the once 0-8 Jaguars their fourth win of the year – weren’t supposed to give New England much of a scare either. Here’s what I’d like to see from New England this weekend: Don’t trail at the half, efficiency on third-down defense, stop the run, and play Stevan Ridley. Josh Gordon won’t beat the Pats all by himself, even if Jason Campbell is back instead of a trick-shot fill-in.
  • Alfonzo Dennard was in a Nebraska courtroom Thursday and had his jail time doubled and his probation extended after a drinking and driving incident last July. I still can’t figure out how this guy’s mind works.
  • It was a big day for FSU’s Jameis Winston Thursday. The moment he was cleared of rape charges, he was given his freedom and won the Heisman Trophy.
  • Good luck to all the high schoolers playing for Super Bowls at Gillette on Saturday. Tom Brady might be watching. No pressure.

Follow me on Twitter at @AdamMKaufman

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About this blog

Adam Kaufman is a writer and broadcaster who can also be heard regularly on 98.5 The Sports Hub, WBZ NewsRadio 1030, the national CBS Sports Radio Network, and broadcasting Boston College hockey games. The Massachusetts native is a Syracuse grad and a pop culture fanatic who offers a unique and entertaining look at your favorite Boston sports teams. Please don't hold his love for Jean-Claude Van Damme movies against him.

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