By: Billy Lewis
The New York Yankees made a fairly surprising move on Tuesday afternoon. They decided to move on from two injury-plagued players in Jacoby Ellsbury and Greg Bird. Bird only found the field for ten games in 2019, Ellsbury hasn’t played since 2017.
Ellsbury will go down as one of the Yankees worst free-agent signings of all-time, if not the worst. Ellsbury appeared to be the Yankees answer to not signing Robinson Cano in the winter of 2013. On December 3, 2013, the Yankees signed Ellsbury to a seven-year $153 million deal.
Ellsbury’s first season with Bombers was also his best. He played in 149 games, hit .271, got on base at a .328 clip. He also added 16 home runs and 70 RBIs.
His pinstripe career coming to an end just finalizes his Yankee tenure as a disappointment. Though he hasn’t played the past two seasons, now the Yankees won’t have to worry about what to do if Ellsbury gets healthy.
Bird feels like a case of “what-if.” He always had potential but could never seem healthy enough to put it all together. Mark Teixeira was having an MVP caliber season in 2015. Teixeira got hurt on August 17th and Greg Bird got his chance to fill in.
Bird filled the void admirably and the Yankees didn’t lose much production. In 46 games, Bird hit 11 home runs, drove in 31 runs and had an OPS of .871.
Bird missed all of 2016 with a labrum injury and would never become the player the Yankees were hoping for. The past few seasons have been riddled with injuries and his career-high in games played has only been 82.
Bird’s shining moment as a Yankee was his home run off of Andrew Miller in the 2017 ALDS. Bird’s home run was the only run in Game 3 and propelled the Yanks to their improbable ALCS run.
Bird was thought of as the first basemen of the future. Injuries and the emergence of Luke Voit made Bird’s future questionable. Tuesday the Yankees answered the question by designating Bird for assignment.