The Yankees have given up on Jacoby Ellsbury, cutting the oft-injured outfielder with more than $26 million left on his $153 million, seven-year contract.
Ellsbury, who has not played since 2017, was released Wednesday to clear a 40-man roster spot as New York added seven players to protect them from next month’s Rule 5 draft.
Ellsbury is owed $26,285,714 by the Yankees in one of their biggest free agent mistakes: $21,142,857 for next season, plus a $5 million buyout of a $21 million team option for 2021.
The team also cut Greg Bird, the frequently injured first baseman, and left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr., designating the pair for assignment.
Outfielder Estevan Florial was added to the major league roster, along with right-handers Deivi García, Luis Gil, Brooks Kriske, Luis Medina, Nick Nelson and Miguel Yajure.
Ellsbury, 36, hit .264 with 39 homers, 198 R.B.I. and 102 stolen bases in 520 games in six seasons with the Yankees. He spent his first seven seasons with the Red Sox and was in All-Star in 2011. He arrived in New York with a .284 career average, 104 homers, 512 RBIs and 343 steals for Boston.
Ellsbury injured an oblique muscle in his right side early during spring training in 2018, developed a bad back and had an operation on Aug. 6 to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. He experienced plantar fasciitis in his right foot during his rehab program before spring training this year.