New York Yankees OF Jay Bruce abruptly retires after 'consistent underperformance'

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Julius Long
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Yankees' Jay Bruce abruptly retires after 'consistent underperformance' originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Yankees outfielder Jay Bruce announced his retirement on Sunday in the wake of what he described as "consistent underperformance" to start the 2021 season.

Bruce, a three-time All-Star outfielder and a two-time Silver Slugger, reportedly informed Yankees manager Aaron Boone of his decision on Friday and made a public announcement prior to the Yankees' 4-2 defeat to the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Yankees brought Bruce into 2021 spring training on a minor league deal and he started the first eight games of the season at first base for the Yankees, but only started two of the last seven after hitting .118 with one homer and three RBIs in 39 plate appearances.

During his announcement Bruce, 34, said he "felt like I wasn't able to do it at a level that was acceptable for myself."

In 14 major league seasons with the Cincinnati (2008-16), the New York Mets (2016-2018), Cleveland (2017), Seattle (2019), Philadelphia (2019-20), and theNew York Yankees (2021) he hit 319 homers and 951 RBIs with a batting average of .244.

Bruce was selected 12th overall by Cincinnati in the 2005 MLB Draft. After making his MLB debut in 2008, Bruce was named a National League All-Star three times (2011, 2012, 2016) and took home the Silver Slugger Award in 2012 and 2013. 

"I was so lucky to have set a standard for myself throughout my career that was frankly very good most of the time," he said on Sunday. "And I don't feel that I'm able to do that, and I think that was the determining factor in the decision. And I feel good about that decision and I feel thankful honestly to myself that I could be honest enough with myself to understand that it's time for this chapter to close."

His decision, which will reportedly cost him upwards of $1.2 million in salary for the reminder of the season, took many by surprise. But he said his love for baseball isn't lost.

"I love it. Anyone who knows me know that I am such a big fan of baseball. I always have been," he said.

His future with the sport, however, is unclear after this decision. He admitted to not knowing what was next, but knows he has a gig locked down for the time being.

"My son starts kindergarten in August," he said, "so I will be shuttle service at the very least.