On November 21st, 2019, the New York Yankees announced they were parting ways with 36-year-old outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. In December of 2013, the New York Yankees signed Ellsbury to a 7-year, $153 million contract, which obviously didn’t pan out the way they hoped it would.
After a solid 2014 where Ellsbury hit .271/.328/.419, it’s been all downhill from there. In 2015, Ellsbury would be put on the 15-day injury list with a right knee sprain. When Ellsbury returned, it was definitely underwhelming, resulting in him losing his starting job to Chris Young.
Ellsbury would return in 2016, but again would have another underwhelming year. In 2017, Ellsbury would lose his starting job again, this time to Aaron Hicks. Ellsbury wouldn’t return to the Yankees during the entire 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Days after the release, it was reported that Yankees GM Brian Chasman informed Ellsbury and his agent Scott Boras, that the team would not be paying Ellsbury the rest of his salary – $21 million in salary plus a $5 million buyout on a $21 million club option in 2021. The club is saying that Ellsbury received unauthorized medical treatment from Dr. Viktor Bouquette of Progressive Medical Center (PMC) in Atlanta.
Ellsbury and the Major League Baseball Player’s Association (MLBPA) quickly announced that they will be filing a grievance challenging the conversion of Ellsbury’s contract from guaranteed, to nonguaranteed.
“The players’ association will vigorously defend any action taken against Jacoby or his contract and is investigating potential contract violations by his employer”MLB Players Union
However, Dr. Bouquette has since come out and said he has never treated Ellsbury for a work-related injury. If that statement turns out to be true, that would mean that Ellsbury did not violate his contract and baseball’s collective-bargaining agreement.
Some in the baseball world believe the grievance the Yankees filed is just a way to recover Ellsbury’s guaranteed money, due to the fact that the team failed to insure his contract in 2020. The Yankees had insurance on Ellsbury’s contract when he didn’t play in 2018 and 2019, and were actually reimbursed 75% of the $42 million he earned between the two years.
However, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal has pointed out, the Yankees have in fact eaten large contracts in the past. Only once in Brian Cashman’s tenure have they tried to terminate a contract, and that was in 2003 when Bubba Trammell abruptly left the team in June. It was later revealed Trammell was suffering from depression, and the two parties reached a settlement on Trammell’s remaining $2.5 million salary.
According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Dr. Bouquette cannot disclose the details of Ellsbury’s treatment. However, in an interview with The Atheltic, Bouquette said that the PMC clinic focuses on reducing inflammation in patients by treating its underlying causes and does not focus on rehabilitating specific injuries.
Stay tuned to GCSN for future updates on the situation.
Featured photo: sportscasting.com
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