Yankees release Ellsbury; Designate Bird and Cortes Jr. for assignment
In a not so surprising move, the New York Yankees finally released forever injured outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury hadn’t played all of last season and when he did play was often on the IL for long stretches of time. Ellsbury was such an afterthought that the Yankees kept him stashed away in Tampa for almost all of last season.
Unfortunately for the Bombers, releasing Ellsbury means they have to pay his $21M contract as well as a $5M bonus that he’s owed. It’s well worth the price though as Ellsbury has been eating money on this team for years now. Good luck to Jacoby in his future ventures but his contract was a complete waste of money and the Yankees should have never signed him.
In two more moves, the Yankees officially designated first baseman Greg Bird and pitcher Nestor Cortes Jr. for assignment. Both players may be picked up by any team in the league and it’s unlikely that either will ever play for the Yankees again.
For Bird, it’s a case of untapped potential. When Bird first came onto the scene a few years ago, he was dubbed as the first baseman of the future. After a multitude of injuries over the last three seasons, Bird has shown that he cannot be relied upon to stay healthy and therefore does not deserve a roster spot. Even when healthy, Bird’s pop over the past two years hasn’t been there and his defense has regressed.
As for Cortes Jr., he was decent for the Yankees but was more flash than results. His unique delivery styles and quick-pitching made him a fan favorite, but his 5.67 ERA is an ugly reminder that strikeouts don’t always equal good pitching.
The Yankees have many questions on their roster but these three can now be answered. Clearly the Yankees have seen enough from Luke Voit that Greg Bird won’t even be given the chance to compete and enough from Ellsbury to know that his time is over. However, this is just the beginning of a long offseason.
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