Jacoby Ellsbury’s release Wednesday night surprised many in the baseball world, but Yankees general manager Brian Cashman in October hinted his failed $153 million player’s future was on thin ice.
Asked whether the oft-injured Ellsbruy could return in 2019 to fill in for Aaron Hicks (Tommy John surgery), Cashman told reporters: “It’s hard to say based on how things have played out. Right now he’s not someone in a position health-wise where I can answer anything in the affirmative.”
One month later the Yankees cut ties with the 36-year-old Ellsbury as part of their 40-man roster shuffle, which also saw the oft-injured Greg Bird designated for assignment.
Top prospects, center fielder Estevan Florial and pitcher Deivi Garcia, headlined a group of seven minor leaguers added to the roster.
The Yankees owe Ellsbury $21 million for the 2020 season and a $5 million buyout on a $21 million option for 2021.
Ellsbury hasn’t played since the 2017 ALCS, and played just 520 games in pinstripes after leaving Boston as a free agent in 2013 to sign a seven-year deal with the Yankees. Most recently Ellsbury has been recovering from plantar fasciitis.