The New York Yankees and Greg Bird are finally calling it quits with each other as the first baseman becomes a free agent.
Greg Bird’s career as a New York Yankees player appears to be over after the first baseman cleared waivers to become a free agent. Bird had the option of accepting the Minor League designation from New York but has decided to test his value in free agency this winter.
Bird was the opening day starter in 2019 and was injured immediately after the first series of the season. The 27-year old first baseman appeared in just 140 games over the past four seasons due to various injuries. He only played in 10 games in 2019, eventually losing his spot to Luke Voit and midseason acquisition Edwin Encarnacion.
The Yankees also have seen value in Minor League first baseman Mike Ford who filled in admirably at different points in the season as a clutch left-handed bat in the lineup. DJ LeMahieu started at first base throughout the playoffs, all compounding reasons for the Yankees to not fight for Bird’s services moving forward. The Greg Bird era ends with clutch moments, including a clutch home run during the 2017 ALCS against the Houston Astros on the road.
During an interview in 2018 for MLB.com, Bird spoke about rehabbing injuries and wanting to be out on the field.
"“Being hurt is no fun,” said Bird, who missed the entire 2016 season following surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder and was then forced to sit out for nearly four months in 2017 with an ankle injury that required surgery. “I felt like I let my teammates down, and when you’re not playing, you’re really anxious to get back. But as tough as it was, I never felt like I couldn’t go on to have a long and healthy career in the Majors.”"
"“The more time that goes on after I’m healthy, the less significant all of these injuries will seem,” Bird said. “I’m sure that, like it does in other situations, time will help me put this far behind me.”"
Bird is a great left-handed bat in any lineup when healthy, but that has been easier said than done. He was pushed heavily by executives in the Yankees organization to be the longterm answer at first base, but his body never allowed him the opportunity.