New York Yankees: If Jacoby Ellsbury Leaves, That Opens Door For Jake Arrieta [Opinion]

Nam Y. HuhAP Images

The New York Yankees are praying that Jacoby Ellsbury waives his no-trade clause for the San Francisco Giants. Such a move would be beneficial for both parties. For Ellsbury, it will give him the playing time he seeks in the outfield, as the Yankees have clearly moved on. For the Yankees, a trade will relieve them of Ellsbury’s $63 million contract and a chance to go after Jake Arrieta.

Adding Giancarlo Stanton was lucky. What if the Miami Marlins wanted Ellsbury instead of Starlin Castro? While the Yankees had a productive offseason, it could get a lot better with Ellsbury gone. It doesn’t matter who the Giants want to give up, no player on their roster besides Madison Bumgarner can pitch the Yankees into the World Series like Jake Arrieta can.

When Stanton hit the market, he became priority No. 1 for almost every team outside of the Philadelphia Phillies. However, this is Arrieta we’re talking about. The same Arrieta who pitched the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series just a season ago and the same one who has won 88 games in his eight-year career in the majors.

While obtaining the services of Arrieta won’t be cheap, he’s well worth the money. According to Spotrac, Arrieta’s market value is at $26.6 million per. Yes, that’s a ton of cash to pay a pitcher who went 14-10 last season and led the majors with 14 wild pitches. But when you finish just one game away from the World Series and pitching was the main reason, what else are you supposed to do?

The Yankees pitching core still has a few heavy arms to throw at teams with CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, and Jordan Montgomery. But adding Arrieta could be the missing piece on the mound just as Stanton is at the plate. To add more intrigue to the Ellsbury situation is the possibility of the Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates doing a deal for Gerrit Cole. The addition of Cole could complicate things for any Arrieta signing. However, what the Yankees could do is turn around and offer Sonny Gray to another team to make room for Arrieta. It’s a tough but good situation Brian Cashman and the Yankees are in. For a team that struggled with their pitching, they now have a chance to be the best unit in MLB. What it boils down to is Ellsbury. If Ellsbury is willing to swallow his pride and move on, then Brian Cashman can attack the remaining pieces needed.

Think back to when rumors hit that the Detroit Tigers had Justin Verlander on the trade block. For all the wonderful things that Verlander has accomplished throughout his career, teams were scared away by his contract ($28 million). The Houston Astros took chance and look where that got them. Don’t you think the Yankees are smacking themselves over that decision? Now they have a second chance to right a wrong or see some other teams like the Cubs, Phillies, or Washington Nationals get the prize they should have grabbed.

Now is not the time to be careful with the money. The Yankees were just hit with a $15.7 million luxury tax bill, which is the 15th straight year they have had to pay. And during that time, how many championships do they have to show for it? Just one. So why not pay for the quality arm that’s needed if the reason you can’t pay him now is no longer there?

Ellsbury couldn’t help the New York Yankees win a title as a member of the team, maybe he can help them be leaving.