Yankees Make Surprising Roster Decision; Release Veteran Outfielder

The New York Yankees have released outfielder Rafael Ortega after he was informed that he did not make the team's Opening Day roster.

This development implies that Estevan Florial has secured a spot on the team.

Ortega, who is 31 years old, had struggled during Grapefruit League play, hitting just .158 with three home runs, seven RBIs, and two stolen bases in 38 at-bats. This lackluster performance likely contributed to the Yankees' decision to release him. Despite his release, Ortega may have a chance to join another team if he can secure an opportunity elsewhere.

Ortega made his MLB debut with the Colorado Rockies in 2012 and spent most of the next decade in the minor leagues, receiving only a few opportunities.

It wasn't until he joined the Chicago Cubs in 2021 that he received an extended look in the majors, where he posted a respectable .265/.344/.408 batting line over the next two seasons.

Last season, Ortega played 364 games in the MLB, hitting .241 with a .310 OBP, seven home runs, 35 RBIs, and 12 stolen bases.

In 2021 with the Cubs, he hit .291, with 11 home runs, 33 RBIs, and 12 stolen bases. Ortega offers good defense and a left-handed bat in Yankee Stadium, which makes his release a somewhat surprising decision.

The Yankees' decision to keep Florial on the roster due to his lack of minor league options left may have contributed to Ortega's departure.

While Florial has good range as an outfielder and base-runner, he has been inconsistent at the plate, with an elevated chase and strikeout rate. Losing Ortega, who is objectively the better player at this point in time, may hurt the team's depth in the outfield.

Nonetheless, the team seems to have made its decision, and Ortega will now be searching for a new opportunity elsewhere. Photo Credit:  Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports