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New York Yankees release Jacoby Ellsbury

The Yankees announced they released the 36-year-old veteran prior to the 40-man roster deadline. As part of a series of…

By Jenny Scordamaglia , in Sports , at November 21, 2019 Tags: ,

The Yankees announced they released the 36-year-old veteran prior to the 40-man roster deadline. As part of a series of roster moves, the team also designated first baseman Greg Bird and lefty Nelson Cortes Jr. for assignment.

The Yankees have released outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and designated first baseman Greg Bird for assignment as part of a series of roster moves. The club has also designated left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr. and added seven players – outfielder Estevan Florial and right-handers Deivi GarciaLuis GilBrooks KriskeLuis MedinaNick Nelson and Miguel Yajure – to its 40-man roster. Ken Davidoff and George A. King III of the New York Post first reported the Yankees were considering releasing Ellsbury.

This brings to an end a hugely disappointing New York tenure for Ellsbury, a former star with archrival Boston who parlayed his success with the Red Sox into a seven-year, $153MM deal with the Yankees after 2013. Ellsbury was merely a decent to good contributor for the Yankees from 2014-17, and a series of injuries prevented him from taking the field at all over the previous two seasons.

The Yankees currently have a need in center field with Aaron Hicks on the mend from Tommy John surgery and Brett Gardner a free agent, so the fact that they’ve moved on from Ellsbury and eaten the remaining $26MM-plus on his contract speaks to how far his stock has fallen. Now, if the 36-year-old is going to continue his career, he’ll likely have to settle for a minor league pact with another organization.

Injuries have also been ruinous for the 27-year-old Bird, whom the Yankees once regarded as their first baseman of the future. Bird was tremendous during a 178-plate appearance debut in 2015, when the left-hander’s swing looked tailor-made for Yankee Stadium, but that’s the only regular-season excellence he has shown to this point. Bird missed all of 2016 after undergoing shoulder surgery and then hit a meager .194/.287/.388 in 522 trips to the plate from 2017-19. Thanks in part to foot problems, he totaled just 41 PA at the MLB level this season. At this point, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see another team trade for or claim Bird, who still has three minor league options left.

Cortes, 24, is also in the DFA pile with Bird. The southpaw, a two-time member of the Yankees organization and also a former Oriole, saw extensive MLB action with New York in 2019. While Cortes limped to a 5.67 ERA/5.57 FIP in that 66 2/3-inning span, he did amass 9.32 strikeouts per nine against 3.78 walks. Cortes also had a solid year at the Triple-A level, where he posted a 3.86 ERA/3.40 FIP with 9.53 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 over 39 2/3 frames. He has a pair of minor league options remaining.


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