How much do Yankees owe Jacoby Ellsbury after release?

Sporting News

The Yankees on Wednesday released outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who had not played for the club since the 2017 American League playoffs.

Ellsbury, 36, had been sidelined by assorted lower-body injuries. He is due $21.1 million in 2020, and the Yankees held a $21 million option for 2021 with a $5 million buyout, meaning he will receive about $26.1 million overall from the team. New York signed Ellsbury to a seven-year, $153 million contract in December 2013.

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New York released Ellsbury just before the 8 p.m. ET deadline for MLB teams to protect minor league players from the Rule 5 draft in December. Ellsbury's release cleared a spot on the Yankees' 40-man roster for one of the seven prospects the team added Wednesday.

Ellsbury produced just 8.1 fWAR (9.9 bWAR) during his Yankees tenure, led by a 3.6 tally in 2014, his first season with the club. He put up 9.5 fWAR for the Red Sox in 2011, a season that turned out to be an extreme outlier. His 32 home runs, 39 stolen bases and 150 wRC+ that year made him a free-agent prize two winters later, even though he missed about half of the 2012 season in Boston with a shoulder injury.

Ellsbury's physical problems with the Yankees began in 2015 when he was sidelined by a knee sprain. He suffered a concussion in 2017, and then an oblique strain helped cost him the 2018 campaign. He sat out the 2019 season to recover from hip surgery and subsequent setbacks. He averaged 130 games played for the Bombers from 2014-17.

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New York's outfield now consists of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, an injured Aaron Hicks, Mike Tauchman, Clint Frazier and prospect Estevan Florial. The Yankees reportedly are interested in re-signing free agent Brett Gardner.

The Yankees also designated first baseman/DH Greg Bird and left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr. for assignment.

Bird, 27, struggled with multiple injuries, as well, but he was a left-handed power source when healthy and playing. He hit 32 home runs in 700 plate appearances over four seasons (2015, 2017-19) and homered three more times in the 2017 playoffs.

Cortes, 24, was best known for being the semi-regular "bulk" reliever after opener Chad Green last season.

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