Yankees Release Jacoby Ellsbury Despite $26 Million Remaining on Contract

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Jacoby Ellsbury’s time in pinstripes is officially over. After not playing since the 2017 ALCS because of multiple injuries, New York finally cut bait with the high-priced outfielder Wednesday, releasing him ahead of the team’s deadline to set its 40-man roster.

Cutting the 36-year-old Ellsbury means that New York will have to eat the remaining $26 million on his seven-year, $153 million contract. He was under contract for more than $21 million in 2020 and had a $5 million buyout for the 2021 season.

After a successful stint with the Red Sox to begin his career, Ellsbury joined the Yankees in 2014, but played in only 520 total games, missing the entirety of both the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

The move comes despite the ongoing rehab for outfielder Aaron Hicks, who will likely be out at the beginning of the season due to Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

New York also designated infielder Greg Bird for assignment. Following Mark Texeria’s retirement, Bird was regarded as New York’s next starting first baseman, but like Ellsbury, Bird struggled to stay on the field.

He missed all of 2016 because of right shoulder surgery and played in only 130 combined games in 2017 and 2018. This past season, Bird appeared in only 10 games before going on the injured list on April 16.