Ja­coby one Ell of an is­sue for GM

New York Daily News - - SPORTS -

ORLANDO — Brett Gard­ner is en­trenched in left field. Aaron Hicks is en­trenched in cen­ter. And Aaron Judge is en­trenched in right. So where can we ex­pect to find Ja­coby Ells­bury in 2018?

If he’s still with the Yan­kees, prob­a­bly on the bench.

So with the Bombers’ out­field set bar­ring in­jury, it would cer­tainly make sense for both sides to move on. But there is one po­ten­tial prob­lem: the 34-year-old vet­eran is due $68.4 mil­lion over the next three sea­sons and has a full no-trade clause.

Brian Cash­man said he hasn’t had any dis­cus­sions with Ells­bury’s agent, Scott Bo­ras, on his fu­ture with the club. But that was ex­pected to hap­pen be­fore Cash­man de­parted the GM meet­ings on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

“Ja­coby’s go­ing to come in and com­pete (for a spot in the spring),” Cash­man said Tues­day. “His sea­son kind of got de­railed clearly by the con­cus­sion (in May). . . It cer­tainly made it look dif­fer­ent than what I think he’s ca­pa­ble of. But we ended (the play­offs) with the cur­rent setup of Judge in right, Hicks in cen­ter and Gardy in left for a rea­son: they were the best we had. And so I think we would an­tic­i­pate go­ing in that way again.

“But that doesn’t mean peo­ple can’t flip scripts ei­ther. And de­pend­ing on how we use the DH po­si­tion re­mains to be seen – it’s so early in this process – and we’ll have and have had peo­ple ask­ing about our play­ers and see­ing if they can find matches to com­pel us to con­sider mak­ing any moves, so we’ll see what hap­pens. I’m not say­ing that specif­i­cally with Ja­coby Ells­bury, just gen­er­ally.”

Ells­bury had a .771 OPS be­fore suf­fer­ing his con­cus­sion on May 24, which kept him out for more than a month. Ells­bury strug­gled upon his re­turn, but even­tu­ally re­dis­cov­ered his form be­fore tail­ing off again late in the year. He went hit­less in nine at-bats dur­ing the play­offs.

“But he can still be a vi­able mem­ber as we move for­ward here — and he will be — un­less cir­cum­stances de­velop as far as out­side in­ter­est as well as their par­tic­i­pa­tion,” Cash­man said.

HEY JOE

Joe Gi­rardi has only one role now since be­ing fired by the Yan­kees: serv­ing as a mem­ber of MLB’s Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mit­tee.

“I’m go­ing to stay with it as long as they want me,” Gi­rardi said Tues­day.

He then paused and added, jok­ingly, with a smile: “That’s kind of what I do.”

Gi­rardi — who man­aged to record two sec­ond-place votes and six third-place votes, fin­ish­ing fourth in the AL Manger of the Year race — isn’t sure what the fu­ture holds, but plans to have some meet­ings a cou­ple weeks af­ter Thanks­giv­ing. A na­tional broad­cast­ing role is some­thing he’d be in­ter­ested in.

“A good pos­si­bil­ity,” he said. “But I think work­ing for (YES Net­work) would be kind of strange.”

The Bombers de­cided to move on from Gi­rardi, ac­cord­ing to Brian Cash­man, be­cause of his lack of con­nec­tiv­ity and abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate with his play­ers.

“I don’t worry about that,” Gi­rardi said when asked about state­ments that have come out since his ouster. “I’m pretty aware of what hap­pens and goes on in the club­house, so I don’t ever worry about that.

“I was a lit­tle shocked,” Gi­rardi added. “But (Brian) had his rea­sons, and he’s the de­ci­sion-maker. He wanted some­thing dif­fer­ent, so I’m not com­ing back.”

START OF SOME­THING?

Gley­ber Tor­res has a shot at start­ing for the Yan­kees on Open­ing Day.

“We’ll just see how the win­ter plays out. I think the easy thing to say is Gley­ber comes into ma­jor league camp and com­petes but starts at Triple-A, be­cause that’s the safest route,” Cash­man said. “But I’m not deny­ing any­body a chance to make the club and push their way into the mix.”

Tor­res, the in­fielder who turns 21 in De­cem­ber, is fin­ish­ing off his re­hab from sea­son-end­ing Tommy John surgery on his left el­bow. De­spite the in­jury, Tor­res fin­ished 2017 as the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball in MLB.com’s rank­ings.

It sounds like Tor­res would have a chance specif­i­cally at third base. He’d have to un­seat Chase Headley.

Tor­res hit .448 in the spring and then .304 in 22 games at Triple-A Scran­ton af­ter be­ing pro­moted from Dou­ble-A Tren­ton be­fore suf­fer­ing his sea­son-end­ing in­jury on June 17 in Buf­falo.

Tor­res tweeted Tues­day: “It’s amaz­ing how the days go by so fast I can’t wait for the next spring.”

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