The Yankees and Jacoby Ellsbury quietly settled their contract dispute at least a year ago to avoid an airing of grievances, The Post has learned.
After the Yankees filed a grievance in 2019 in an attempt to recoup some of the money in the final leg of his seven-year, $153 million contract, the two sides have since reached a monetary settlement to avoid a hearing.
The Yankees filed the grievance after the 2019 season, upon releasing Ellsbury with one year left on his contract. They claimed the outfielder used an outside facility, without their permission, to rehab injuries that kept him off the field for 2018 and 2019. By rule, players are supposed to seek and receive permission before using doctors outside of the organization. Ellsbury was set to make $21 million in 2020, with an additional $5 million buyout on a $21 million option in 2021.
While the exact amount of the settlement is not publicly known, due to confidentiality agreements, it was a figure low enough to keep the Yankees under the second luxury tax threshold in 2020. Going over that threshold would have pushed them back 10 spots in the 2021 draft.
During the 2020 season — shortened to 60 games by the pandemic — the second luxury tax threshold was about $80 million and the Yankees were just under it with Ellsbury’s diminished salary.
A league source described the financial settlement as a “fair compromise.”
Ellsbury played 520 games for the Yankees from 2014-2017, but none after pinch-running in Game 4 of the 2017 ALCS. He missed all of 2018. He was initially sidelined by an oblique strain before he was treated for a lower-back issue. He then underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip in August, which kept him out for all of 2019 as well.
Jose Trevino started a second straight game behind the plate Friday night for the first time this season.
Manager Aaron Boone said Trevino and Kyle Higashioka were going to split the games Friday and Saturday anyway, so he opted to have Higashioka start Saturday against lefty Kirk McCarty.
“I view it as kind of having a tandem right now,” Boone said.
While both Yankees catchers are defense-first backstops, Trevino has gotten off to a better start offensively, providing an impact in the four games he had started before Friday.
“Jose’s been great,” Boone said. “I think we were all excited to get him, but he’s been great in every way for us. Been great in our room, obviously really good behind the plate, he’s had a lot of good at-bats, run the bases well. He’s doing everything we could’ve asked, earning those opportunities.”
Catcher Ben Rortvedt, who was sidelined by an oblique strain during spring training that in part necessitated the trade for Trevino, is still going through the rehab process.
“He’s doing pretty well, but not ready to play in any games yet,” Boone said. “Still that tee and toss, starting the [batting practice] phase, doing all his defensive stuff. He’s doing well and I think over the injury now.”