Yankees sign Greg Bird for one-year, $1.2M to avoid arbitration

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 21: Greg Bird #33 of the New York Yankees celebrates scoring a run against the New York Mets in the fourth inning during their game at Yankee Stadium on July 21, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 21: Greg Bird #33 of the New York Yankees celebrates scoring a run against the New York Mets in the fourth inning during their game at Yankee Stadium on July 21, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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With Friday being the deadline to exchange salaries for the 2019 season, the Yankees avoided arbitration with the much-maligned Greg Bird on a one-year, $1.2 million deal.

Despite a horrific showing across 82 games in 2018 for the Yankees, Greg Bird will receive a handsome raise from the $582,000 he took home last year.

On Thursday, the 26-year-old first baseman signed a one-year, $1.2 million contract. Bird still has two years remaining of arbitration eligibility.

Although MLB Trade Rumors projected Bird to make $1.5M for the upcoming season — and therefore fell $300k shy of that estimate, I’m still a little confounded as to how Bird managed to garner a $682,000 raise following his most recent dreadful campaign.

No, beginning last season on the disabled list following surgery to remove a bone spur from his right ankle didn’t do Bird any favors; however, he did return on May 26 and received the most plate appearances (and games played) of his brief three-year big league career.

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Therefore, while Bird has yet to experience a single injury-free campaign, the excuse that he hasn’t gotten enough of a chance to prove himself is no longer applicable.

Across 311 PA, Bird slashed a woeful .199/.286/.386 with 23 runs scored, 16 doubles, 11 home runs, and 38 RBIs while racking up a 78:30 K:BB ratio.

With all intentions of breakout slugger, Luke Voit starting 2019 as the Yankees starting first baseman, Bird will get some opportunity to prove he still belongs on the 25-man roster. What Bird does with those chances is entirely up to him. It’s not like Voit was merely handed the job — he legit earned it last Septemeber.

Though Bird’s stats from ’18 don’t necessarily warrant a guaranteed major league roster spot, the Yanks will hope Bird’s left-handed bat can provide some timely production while potentially being a late-inning defensive replacement (admittedly, he’s no Mark Teixeira with the glove, but Voit is worse).

Next. NFL QB Russell Wilson coming back to spring training. dark

Eight Yankees remain in arbitration protocol, including the injured Didi Gregorius, Austin Romine, Aaron Hicks (coming off a career-year), Luis Severino, James Paxton, Sonny Gray, Dellin Betances (again) and Tommy Kahnle.