Red Sox

Yankees release former Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury

Yankees release former Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury

The New York Yankees finally made the decision to move on from former Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. The 36-year-old hadn't played for the team since 2017 while dealing with a plethora of injuries including oblique, back, hip, and foot maladies.

Ellsbury originally signed a seven-year, $153 million deal with the Yankees before the 2014 season. Over the course of six years, he played in 520 games for the team and hit .264 with 39 homers before being released on Wednesday.

Red Sox fans will remember Ellsbury for the excellent years he put together in Boston including his second-place finish in the 2011 MVP race and his starting role on the improbable 2013 World Series Champion teams.

Ellsbury also had one of the greatest straight steals of home plate in 2009 against the Yankees. During that season, Ellsbury led the MLB with an absurd 70 steals.

The Yankees' decision to part with Ellsbury came as a part of changes to their 40-man roster. MLB teams had until Wednesday night to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft by placing them on the 40-man roster.

The Yankees certainly aren't happy with the return on investment they got with the Ellsbury deal, and the Red Sox actually may have benefitted more from his departure.

As Barstool Sports' Jared Carrabis pointed out on Twitter, they received a compensatory first-round pick for losing Ellsbury that they used on Michael Kopech. Kopech became one of the centerpieces of the Chris Sale trade, a move that helped the Red Sox win the 2018 World Series.

So too did the postseason performance of Jackie Bradley Jr., the 2018 ALCS MVP who was the replacement for Ellsbury in centerfield in 2014.

Given that Ellsbury hasn't played an MLB game in two years, it's hard to imagine him ending up somewhere else. Nonetheless, we'll keep an eye on the former Red Sox outfield as the MLB hot stove starts to warm up a bit.

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Chaim Bloom reacts to Gerrit Cole signing with Yankees

Chaim Bloom reacts to Gerrit Cole signing with Yankees

Chaim Bloom is well-aware of just how big of a move the Yankees made when they signed Gerrit Cole to a nine-year, $324 million contract on Tuesday. But the Red Sox chief baseball officer is staying patient.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday at the Winter Meetings in San Diego, Bloom addressed the Cole signing and noted the importance of the front office not being too reactionary in their approach to the offseason.

"Look, we want to beat the Yankees as badly as anybody, trust me,” Bloom said. “I think it’s just a question of us being able to step back and say, ‘What is the best approach for us to do that?’ The more we feel like we’re being reactive to other teams’ moves, I think the more we’re playing their game. We might be pushing ourselves further from that objective rather than helping ourselves.”

Bloom was the Tampa Bay Rays' senior vice president of baseball operations prior to joining the Red Sox, so he's no stranger to seeing both Boston and New York making noise in the offseason. His experience with a much lower payroll in Tampa helped him learn to not be distracted by the big splashes made by division rivals.

“Having had the good fortune of being in this division for a long time, I’m kind of used to seeing the Yankees, and the Red Sox for that matter, do things over the years,” Bloom said. “It didn’t change things that much in terms of how I reacted to that. I think it’s one of the great things about the challenges of being in, what has been over the course of time probably the toughest division maybe in all of pro sports. You expect the standards to be very high and you expect your rivals to be constantly looking to improve, constantly find ways.

"The approach from team to team might vary, but you expect them to constantly be doing things to make themselves better. It’s important to not get distracted by that. It’s important to focus on your own club and how you can accomplish your goals.”

The Red Sox have made it clear they're aiming to shed payroll ahead of the 2020 season, so don't expect any Cole-like deals for Boston any time soon. Instead, prepare for stars like David Price and/or Mookie Betts to be shipped out of town before Opening Day.

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MLB rumors: Tampa ties make Dodgers, Angels strong contenders to acquire David Price

MLB rumors: Tampa ties make Dodgers, Angels strong contenders to acquire David Price

SAN DIEGO -- David Price made his name in Tampa Bay. Could he be reunited with either of the two architects of those breakout Rays teams this offseason?

The rumor mill is churning at the winter meetings, and according to a pair of rival executives, the Dodgers and Angels are considered prime landing spots if Price is moved this winter, partly because Price has a personal connection to both teams.

The Dodgers are run by Andrew Friedman, who drafted Price first overall out of Vanderbilt in 2007 while serving as Tampa's executive vice president of baseball operations. Price was one of the foundational pieces of Tampa's rise to prominence on Friedman's watch.

The Angels, meanwhile, just hired Joe Maddon to be their manager. He was Tampa's skipper when Price debuted in 2008 and reached the World Series, and he was still at the helm when the Rays traded Price to the Tigers in 2014.

Both men had strong relationships with Price, according to multiple sources, and would be open to a reunion.

A lot has to happen before Price changes teams, though. The Dodgers and Angels have been aggressive on the starting pitching market, despite losing the Gerrit Cole sweepstakes to the Yankees. The Dodgers have reportedly turned their attention to free-agent lefty Madison Bumgarner, while the Angels must upgrade one of the worst rotations in baseball. No Angels pitcher reached 20 starts last year and the starting ERA of 5.64 ranked last in the AL.

At this point, their interest is simply the stuff of rumors. Price may not be anything more than a fallback for either organization, and a number of solid starters remain unsigned, including Bumgarner, defending NL ERA champ Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Dodgers, and former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel.

If the Angels or Dodgers eventually turn their attention to Price, it wouldn't come as a surprise. Friedman and Maddon oversaw the best seasons of Price's career. He went 82-47 with a 3.18 ERA in parts of seven seasons with the Rays, making four All-Star teams and winning a Cy Young Award.

He has had a tougher go in Boston, but he did exorcise one demon by leading the Red Sox to a World Series in 2018 with a dominant postseason.

Any team acquiring him will have to be comfortable assuming all or most of the three years and $96 million remaining on his contract.

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