New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to discuss Jacoby Ellsbury‘s reported deal with the Yankees, as well as Robinson Cano’s free agency situation.
On Tuesday night, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that New York signed Ellsbury, the former Red Sox outfielder, to a seven-year, $153 million contract. This figure seems exorbitant considering that Ellsbury, 30, frequently has struggled to stay on the field, and his best season was in 2011.
“Jacoby Ellsbury has been on two World Series-winning teams, I love watching him play baseball, has anybody ever thought of him as being one of the top five players in baseball?” Lupica said, adding: “And now you’re paying him like one of the very best players in baseball, even though he’s three or four years past the best numbers he’s ever put in the books?”
The deal, orchestrated by agent Scott Boras, is similar to what Carl Crawford received from the Red Sox in 2010. Crawford, an outfielder who relies on his speed like Ellsbury, got seven years and $142 million from the Red Sox entering his age-30 season.
“You know that Boras came into this thinking, ‘I’m going to get him more than Carl Crawford,’ but the Carl Crawford deal is universally analyzed as one of the dumbest the Red Sox ever made in all of recorded history,” Lupica said.
After his breakout campaign in 2011, Ellsbury struggled with injuries in 2012, and, to a lesser degree, in 2013. He missed 116 games in the last two seasons. Additionally, Ellsbury missed almost all of the 2010 season.
“I’m just more mystified that you’re taking a fragile player, who depends on his legs, who played  games last year, we don’t even have to go back to where he missed [almost] a whole season,” Lupica said.
Meanwhile, Cano reportedly is getting interest from the Mariners and Mets, as the Yankees have made it clear they are not close to a deal with the second baseman.
“I still think he’s going to end up with the Yankees,” Lupica said. “Now I hear Seattle. It’s a very tough situation for his representatives, because they clearly over-promised here and they’re clearly going to under-deliver.”
Cano left Boras in April and signed with Jay-Z’s sports agency.
“At the end of the day, it’s almost like [the Yankees are] in this weird poker game with Cano and they’re saying, ‘We’re not going to sign a really dumb contract with you, so here’s what we’re going to do to force your hand, we’re going to sign an even dumber contract with Jacoby Ellsbury,’ ” Lupica said.
Meanwhile, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is waiting to hear the decision on his appeal of the 211-game suspension handed down by MLB last summer. Arbiter Fredric Horowitz is presiding over the grievance hearing.
“I think that Horowitz is going to give him something less than 211 games, but something in the hundreds and he will continue to live in this world where he is a hero, he is a political prisoner, he is the Nelson Mandela of baseball,” Lupica said.
To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.