The Yankees on Wednesday gave up on Ellsbury, cutting the oft-injured outfielder with more than $26 million left in his seven-year, $153 million contract.
Ellsbury, who has not played since 2017, was released to clear a 40-man roster spot as the Yankees 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.
New York also cut frequently injured first baseman Bird 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 Garcia, Luis Gil, Brooks Kriske, Luis Medina, Nick Nelson and Miguel Yajure.
Now 36, Ellsbury hit .264 with 39 homers, 198 RBIs and 102 stolen bases in 520 games over four seasons with the Yankees. He spent his first seven seasons with the Boston Red Sox and was an All-Star in 2011, and he arrived in New York with a .297 career average, 65 homers, 314 RBIs and 241 steals for Boston.