The Latest Big Contract Yankee Has a Lot in Common with the Big Contract Knickerbocker
Jacoby Ellsbury is an exceptionally good baseball player who is already 30. He just signed a seven-year contract with the New York Yankees, who will pay him $153 million. Ellsbury is fast, has been hurt a lot, and was a two-time world champion with Boston. He hits in the clutch and plays boffo centerfield–a sort of sacred bailiwick in the Bronx, once patrolled by legends like DiMaggio and Mantle (not to slight Bernie Williams). He is 30 years old, did we mention?
That makes Ellsbury a year older than Amar’e Stoudemire, the 6’11” forward-center that another grasping New York team–this time the Knicks–enticed to come patrol its middle back in 2010. When he became a Knick, Stoudemire had been a Phoenix Sun for about the same length of time Ellsbury worked in Boston–and his promise was as big as his wingspan. Another similarity, besides their age, length of previous employment and history of injuries, is the money. Stoudemire’s five-year $100 million deal pays him almost exactly the annual salary Ellsbury will make–$20 million per. The Knicks haven’t made it past the first round of the playoffs since the arrival of Stoudemire, who this season is averaging just under five points a game. The Knicks are currently on a 8-game losing streak.