Yankees: Greg Bird to SWB and Tyler Austin back at 1B makes the most sense

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(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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The Yankees have gotten limited offensive production from first base and GM Brian Cashman should send Greg Bird to AAA to “find his swing” and bring back Tyler Austin.

The Yankees waited a long time for Greg Bird’s return but since he’s been back in the lineup he’s been a bust. The dream of Bird being the left-handed power bat to hit between Judge and Stanton hasn’t gone according to plan in the 23 games and 81 plate appearances he’s had since his return from the DL.

He’s posted a .198 BA, with 3 HR, 5 RBI, and a .293 OBP with 28 SO. He’s hitting just .224 vs RHP and .083 vs LHP. That’s only a shade lower than his three-year average since arriving in the big leagues which leaves one to wonder if this is just who Bird is. The only thing Bird has managed to do is not get injured walking from the dugout and back from the batter’s box after killing rallies and leaving men on base.

The stats are pretty shocking. He is below the league average by almost every metric used to rate a professional at the MLB level. We keep hearing about the amazing and beautiful swing he has which once drew comparisons to John Olerud and Wade Boggs as reported by Eric Boland of Newsday:

"“I can see it,” an opposing team executive said of the Bird-Olerud comparison. “But for me, looking at the bat control, he’s more Wade Boggs. Can hit to all fields . . . but with more power.”"

Yankees manager Aaron Boone isn’t concerned by Bird’s failures so far. However, Boone is always very supportive of the players on his roster because he has their backs. According to an article five days ago by Chris Ryan NJ Advance Media for NJ.com Boone had this to say:

"“It’s just a matter of him really getting locked in to where some of those fly balls he’s hitting off the barrel start really going in for extra-base hits,” Boone said. “Which, since he’s come back, he’s done a pretty good job of impacting some balls with some extra-base hits.”"

Boone must have been talking about the 10 XBH he has of his 16 totals hits which includes 3 home runs. That was the one and only “weak” positive Boone could offer to the reporter’s inquiry. Bird needs to go down to SWB and work on actually hitting some baseballs with that beautiful swing if he is going to live up to the hype that has swirled around him since 2015.

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Tyler Austin, who is currently hitting .333 with 2 HR’s, 6 RBI’s in his first five games with the Railriders should replace him. We should remember that Austin hit .295 in his first 25 games with the Yankees along with 8 HR’s and 22 RBI’s and led all rookies in that stat before his four-game suspension for charging Joe Kelley in Boston after being intentionally plunked.

He struggled in his return from his suspension and then he was exiled to the bench when Bird rejoined the club. Austin was primarily the starting first baseman when the Bombers went on that incredible run after beginning the season at 9-9.

The right-handed slugger was obviously affected by the loss of timing due to a lack of regular at-bats and the Yankees were right to finally send him to Scranton so he could play every day recover his timing and stay sharp.

Next: The Yankees have to make a decision on Neil Walker

I think if Bird continues his current form until the end of June, it might be time for the Yankees to admit that the guy they waited so long for needs more time to develop. Send him down and give Austin a full-time opportunity to hold the bag at first. He has earned it.