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Jacoby Ellsbury jumps to Yankees amid flurry of MLB transactions
And Boston already has lined up a catching replacement in A.J. Pierzynski.
Add in a pair of trades by Oakland, a three-team deal involving Arizona, Cincinnati and Tampa Bay, plus two other swaps Tuesday, and baseball’s business season has started to boil a week before the winter meetings.
Ellsbury struck the third-highest deal for an outfielder in baseball history, a $153 million, seven-year contract with the Yankees, who are retooling after missing the playoffs for just the second time in 19 years. The center fielder was to take a physical in New York on Wednesday that he must pass before the deal can be finalized, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.
Earlier Tuesday, New York finalized an $85 million, five-year contract with All-Star catcher Brian McCann.
Ellsbury, who turned 30 in September, led the majors with 52 stolen bases despite being hobbled late in the season by a broken right foot. The lefty-hitting leadoff man batted .298 with nine homers and 53 RBIs, and the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium should boost his power numbers.
Ellsbury’s deal includes a $21 million option for the 2021 season, with a $5 million buyout. If the option is exercised, the deal would be worth $169 million over eight years. Among outfielders, only $160 million contracts for Manny Ramirez and Matt Kemp are more lucrative.
Pierzynski agreed to a one-year contract with the Red Sox, a person with knowledge of those negotiations said, also on condition of anonymity because the agreement wasn’t final.
The lefty-hitting Pierzynski and righty David Ross, Boston’s backup, both will be 37 next season. With catching prospects Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart making their way up the system, the Red Sox were reluctant to give a multiyear deal to Saltalamacchia.
Pierzynski hit .272 with 17 homers and 70 RBIs last season with Texas.
Saltalamacchia agreed to a $21 million, three-year deal with the 100-loss Marlins, two people familiar with those negotiations said, also on condition of anonymity because the contract had not been finalized.
Saltalamacchia started the past three seasons for the Red Sox and hit a career-high .273 with 15 homers, 40 doubles and 65 RBIs last season. He hit .188 in the postseason and was benched during the World Series.
Also Tuesday, Minnesota completed a $49 million, four-year contract with right-hander Ricky Nolasco. The Twins, coming off their third straight season of at least 86 losses, also is finishing a $24 million, three-year deal with right-hander Phil Hughes that is expected to be announced later this week.
By Tammy Bruce
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