When former Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira sustained a season-ending injury late in the 2015 season, Greg Bird was viewed as not just a temporary successor, but also as the heir apparent.
Originally drafted in the fifth round in 2011 by the Yankees out of Grandview High School, Bird exhibited remarkable potential while filling in for Teixeira, as he generated an .871 OPS, 137 wRC+, and hit 11 home runs in 46 games, which, if extrapolated over 162 games, would amount to 39 total.
Very good numbers for a first baseman, right? The plan was set. Following Teixeira’s retirement, Greg Bird would commandeer first base.
Not quite how it turned out. Since his dominant late 2015 run, Bird had played in 130 of a possible 486 regular season games from 2016-2018, and that includes missing all of 2016. His OPS from 2017 to the present is an abysmal .675, and has batted below the Mendoza line at .194.
Now, the most breaking news regarding the embattled first baseman includes yet another injury, which may be the nail in the coffin for his time in pinstripes; granted that said nail may have been hammered in after Luke Voit came along last year. Perhaps this was just the icing on the cake.
Greg Bird has all of the natural talent any scout or GM would want in a first baseman, with a smooth, crescendo swing perfect for the short right field porch at Yankee Stadium, good power, and respectable defense. But the fact of the matter is that Bird has been incapable of hitting right-handed pitchers, has been unable to stay on the field, and has not been productive when healthy.
So now, the question that remains is the manner in which the Yankees part ways with Bird. Retaining him would be a mistake; otherwise, how many more sub-optimal, injury-ravaged seasons from Bird will Brian Cashman tolerate before he finally learns to say goodbye? Bird still has three more seasons of team control, and will be eligible for arbitration next year. A trade would almost certainly amount to an insignificant return, and Bird can reject a DFA since he has more than three years of service time, in which case he could become a free agent.
Whatever the case may be, Greg Bird should no longer be a Yankee.