This time of year, there is a lot of roster trimming. Teams are looking to clear space on their roster for free agent acquisitions in addition to having room on their rosters to protect prospects from the upcoming Rule 5 draft. We have already seen a flurry of moves to add players to 40 man rosters across the league just for Rule 5 protection alone in addition to a smattering of free agent signings with the Winter Meetings right around the corner.
The flip side is that some players will find themselves unemployed at least in the short term as they take up valuable roster space. The New York Yankees are a teams known for having a loaded roster that, in all honesty, needed some trimming to allow for more useful players to see the light of day. Today, they made a pair of roster moves.
The New York Yankees have released Jacoby Ellsbury and designated Greg Bird for assignment as part of their moves on the day teams set 40-man rosters.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 21, 2019
Injuries ultimately derailed both Jacoby Ellsbury and Greg Bird’s tenures with the Yankees even though each player were at very different stages of their careers. Ellsbury, coming off an outstanding stint with the Red Sox, was a steady performer with the Yankees until the past two seasons where he hasn’t been able to contribute at all due to foot, shoulder, and oblique injuries among other things. The Yankees are having to eat $26 million to release Ellsbury and do so knowing that center field is an open question for them right now which tells you all you need to know about what the Yankees’ think about his ability to contribute.
Bird, on the other hand, is a very young player with several options left so he might catch on with another club via a waiver claim or trade. The young, slugging first baseman has struggled at the plate the last couple of years and foot injuries (in addition to shoulder surgery back in 2016) have slowed his development significantly. However, between the two players, Bird definitely seems like the more likely to find employment.