Jacoby Ellsbury signed a 7-year, $153 million contract with the New York Yankees after spending seven seasons and winning two World Series titles with their American League-East rival Boston Red Sox.
Greg Bird showed promise as a potential future star in Yankees pinstripes, coming onto the scene with 30 home runs in his first 500 major league at-bats. He was drafted by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft.
Thursday afternoon, WFAN's Mike Francesa called Ellsbury and Bird "the two most frustrating players theyve had in a very long time."
"Ellsbury didn't work out. Owing him 26 million, paying him over 121 million, he was a really great player. He had a great year once. I thought he had an incredible amount of talent. He couldn't get comfortable here. He couldn't get healthy here. It will go down with some of the Yankee signings that have been disastrous if you're going to sign premium free agents and prominent free agents big-dollar free agents, some of them are not going to work out even if you're the Yankees that's part of the game."
"When you take the Red Sox center fielder, give him a big contract and then he doesn't do anything it makes it more painful."
Greg Bird has played just 186 games in his MLB career after making his debut in 2015. He missed the entire 2016 season and played just 10 games in 2019.
"Even more frustrating than that was Bird because he almost came from central casting. He looked the part of a Yankee slugger from head to toe. He fit the mold at times. Cashman said he was the best hitter in the organization. There were these brief moments. Really freakish injuries and slumps, when he fouled a ball off his foot went 6-for-60 and had to go down to the minors, he never recovered from that."
"So many times you waited for Bird to take off to become that guy we all knew he could be. He was highly productive at times but woefully inconsistent and all those injuries."
The 2020 Yankees and beyond will not have two players that many hoped would be cornerstones of the franchise for many years to come.
"Cutting loose with those two very frustrating figures, its a passing of an era because you waited a long time in recent seasons. Die-hard Yankees fans have always said "whats Ellsbury role. What's Birds' role?... It never happened.... there were a lot of Yankee fans, executives and brain trust who thought Bird was going to be a big star. There were reasons to believe that. They didn't want to give up on that dream. But you finally have to and move on."