The New York Yankees officially move on from injury-prone outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and first baseman Greg Bird.
The New York Yankees made a couple of roster moves before Wednesday’s deadline to set their 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 Draft. Two names that headlined the announcement were Jacoby Ellsbury and Greg Bird.
The Yankees officially released Ellsbury, who would have entered his final year of a seven-year, $153 million contract that he signed before the 2014 season. Even though the Yankees released Ellsbury, his $26 million owed was not insured and will count towards the Yankees 2020 luxury tax bill.
From the moment Ellsbury signed the contract, I knew this was a mistake because it was just a reactionary move due to losing Robinson Cano to the Seattle Mariners.
Ellsbury never did anything in his seven years with the Red Sox that earned him $153 million. Granted, he was an excellent defender, great baserunner, and he did have that one All-Star season where he finished in second place in the MVP voting, but that was pretty much it.
The 36-year old never lived up to his contract with the Yankees. He played in just four out of seven years due to a plethora of injuries, missing the entire 2018 and 2019 seasons. The last time Ellsbury stepped onto the field in a Yankees uniform was in Game 4 of the 2017 ALCS in a pinch-running stint.
He will forever be remembered as a Yankee for his exceptional ability to draw catcher’s interferences.
Ellsbury ultimately finished his Yankees career with a .264/.330/.386 slash line and hit 39 home runs, 198 RBI’s, and stole 102 bases.
This signing will go down as one of Brian Cashman’s worst signings in his career.
The Yankees finally designated Bird for assignment Wednesday after he too couldn’t stay on the field due to injuries. Bird’s been with the Yankees since 2015 and was thought to be the replacement for Mark Teixeira.
Bird had an impressive 2015 season; in 46 games, he hit .261 with 11 home runs and 31 RBI’s but then missed the entire 2016 season after having surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. After returning from the surgery, Bird was never quite the same offensively. He also continued to struggle with his health, playing in just 140 games over three years.
Unlike Ellsbury, Bird did play in 2019 but was only able to suit up for ten games before suffering a left plantar fascia tear. He finished last season hitting .171 with one home run and one RBI and ended his Yankees career hitting .211 with 32 home runs, 98 RBI’s, and 189 strikeouts.
It was a real shame that Bird was never able to stay healthy because it seemed like his lefty swing was perfect for Yankee Stadium. Bird’s most significant Yankees moment was Game 3 of the 2017 ALDS, where he hit the eventual game-winning home run off lefty Andrew Miller in the bottom of the seventh inning.
It was time to move on from Ellsbury and Bird because their time was up in New York. These moves were inevitable since they were nothing but dead weight at this point. A player’s best ability is their availability.