Yankees release OF Jacoby Ellsbury, DFA Greg Bird

The New York Yankees released outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and designated Greg Bird for assignment ahead of the Rule 5 Draft.

The New York Yankees released outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and designated first baseman Greg Bird for assignment, the team announced Wednesday.

It has been a long and tumultuous road for Ellsbury, who signed a seven-year deal all the way back in 2013. The contract was worth $153 million, and there was $26 million left when he was released. The oft-injured center fielder hasn’t played in a game since 2017.  Despite the talent, Ellsbury became one of their biggest mistakes in free agency.

With the Rule 5 draft coming up, the Yankees needed to make some room on the 40-man roster. The Yankees added outfielder Estevan Florial and right-handed pitchers Luis Medina, Luis Gil, Deivi Garcia, Brooks Kriske, Nick Nelson and Miguel Yajure.

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During his six seasons with the Bronx Bombers, Ellsbury slashed .264/.330/.786 with 39 home runs. Ellsbury dealt with a bevy of injuries during his time with the Yankees. They included a torn labrum in the hip, a back issue and plantar fascitis for the 2019 season.

Ellsbury is still owed over $26 million from the Yankees—$21 million for the 2020 season and a $5 million buyout from a team option in 2021.

Bird has had an equally tumultuous ride with the Yankees. Despite his immense potential as a left-handed power hitter at Yankee Stadium, Bird also struggled with injuries. His 2015 season was extremely promising when he hit 11 home runs in 158 at bats while recording a 135 OPS+.

However, he struggled to stay on the field after that. He missed the entire 2016 season after suffering a torn labrum in his shoulder. He also dealt with some injuries including fouling a ball off of his ankle in spring training and bone spurs.

The Yankees also designated Nestor Cortes for assignment.

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