Former Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was introduced by the Yankees on Friday morning during a press conference at Yankee Stadium and said he’s looking forward to the opportunity to be a part of the team’s tradition of success, while refusing to comment about negotiations with his ex-team.
Jacoby Ellsbury took out a full-page ad thanking Boston fans Friday, the same day he was introduced in New York as a member of the Yankees.
Wearing jersey No. 22 that was presented to him by manager Joe Girardi, Ellsbury appeared nervous as he took questions from the New York media.
“I’m excited to be a New York Yankee,” Ellsbury said in his introductory remarks. “Definitely very excited for my family and I. I know [wife] Kelsey is excited to be here. You guys have treated me so great, all day today. I’m very appreciative.
“I’m excited for this opportunity, coming to a storied franchise. Looking outside today, seeing the banners on the wall, seeing the great players that have played here, this is a truly honor. … It’s an honor and I’m excited to go out there. Can’t wait to get to spring training, get to work, meet my teammates. And hopefully when it’s all said and done, we can hoist that trophy above our head. With that being said, I’m excited to be here.”
Ellsbury agreed to a reported $153 million, seven-year deal with an option for an eighth year to join the Yankees a month after winning a World Series with the Red Sox, who reportedly did not have any desire to make a similar commitment.
“From the get-go, the Yankees showed a great interest in me and let me know that they really wanted me,” Ellsbury said. “From that point on, everything moved very fast. It was exciting. I always enjoyed playing here. I love the tradition. The fans, it’s going to be nice having them on my side now. Just a great place to play, an honor to be here, I’m excited.”
Added Ellsbury: “It’s exciting. I know a lot of the guys, just playing against them. I’ve talked to them. They told me, ‘You’re going to love being a New York Yankee. It’s unbelievable.’ Yeah, that’s important to me [to have a long-term deal]. I’m excited to be here for an extended period of time, building that [new core] group, coming together. So I’m looking forward to the next seven or eight years, definitely.”
As for his feelings about the Red Sox, Ellsbury — who took out a full-page ad in The Boston Globe on Friday thanking the fans — said: “I have nothing but great things to say about my old team. I’m just truly honored to be here. Obviously it’s going to be fun when I go back to Boston. But I’m excited to be here. Excited. I know the rivalry being from within the AL East. It’s just going to be an exciting time.”
Asked specifically about his dealings with Boston this offseason, Ellsbury said: “I’m not really going to get into that right now. It was seven great years. The fans treated me great. The guys in the clubhouse, those are relationships that I’ll have for the rest of my life, regardless of what uniform I’m in or what uniform they’re in. And then the two world championships. Started my career with a world championship, ended my tenure there with a championship. Unbelievable first part of my career. Definitely excited for the next chapter.”
Girardi gushed about his team’s big acquisition, one of a few new players this offseason as New York alters its look following a disappointing 2013 campaign.
“It seems like each week my job gets a little easier on how I’m going to fill our our lineup card,” Girardi said. “When you think about adding players to your lineup, you think about adding players that are going to provide an impact, at least on one side of the ball. We’re fortunate, because we have a guy that’s going to do it on both sides of the ball. And I’ve been able to witness that 19 times over the last six years, each year.
“I’ve seen him get base hits, I’ve seen him hit home runs, I’ve seen him steal second, I’ve seen him steal third, and I’ve even had the pleasure of watching him steal home off Andy Pettitte when I was standing right behind him and we were all screaming at Andy. I’ve seen him make great catches that have changed the complexion of the scores between the Red Sox and Yankees.
“And that’s why I’m so happy to have him in our lineup on a daily basis. Because there’s so many different ways that he can beat you, whether it’s with his power or his speed or his glove. So, Jacoby, you are going to make my life a lot easier. You no longer are a thorn in my side, you are a flower in our clubhouse and I’m happy to have you.”
Added general manager Brian Cashman: “He’s a dynamic player, someone that obviously can make a difference on the offensive and defensive side. Someone that we have seen up close and personal for many years on the wrong side of the rivalry. So, we look forward to him being one of many pieces to a very important puzzle and we move forward in our efforts to try to continue the winning tradition here in the Bronx.”