Yankees: Greg Bird elects free agency after declining assignment to Triple-A Scranton


A week ago the Yankees designated 1B Greg Bird for assignment to clear up a spot on their 40-man roster. On Wednesday Bird cleared waivers and elected free agency after he declined an outright assignment to Triple-A Scranton.

Bird will look to find a new home this offseason as we can now officially close the book on his tenure with the Yankees. Over the course of four seasons in New York, the 27-year old appeared in just 186 games and posted a .211 BA, with 32 HR, 98 RBI, and a .725 OPS.

He showed so much promise during his rookie year when he hit .261 with 11 HR and 31 RBI in 46 games, but in the years that followed he was never able to stay healthy. Bird missed the entire 2016 season due to shoulder surgery and over the last three seasons, he appeared in a total of only 140 games due to a collection of foot and ankle injuries.

When he was healthy enough to play Bird really struggled to produce consistently and often looked overmatched at the plate. In the past three seasons, he hit a combined .193 in 454 at-bats with 21 HR and 67 RBI. This past season he only appeared in 10 games because of a plantar fascia tear and never returned from the IL after suffering the injury in early April. Even if he had been healthy enough to play at some point during the season he likely wasn’t going to after falling to the bottom of the first base depth chart behind DJ LeMahieu, Luke Voit and Mike Ford.

It’s not a big shock to see him elect free agency because a change of scenery could be just what he needs to get his career back on track. I thought there was a chance he’d accept the assignment to Triple-A to remain with the organization, but he’s probably better off trying to sign a major league deal with a club that will let him compete for a starting job this spring.

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Injuries have crippled Bird for the past four seasons, but there should be some teams out there who are willing to take a chance on him next year. Although his numbers have been terrible over the past three seasons he’s still young and he still has a beautiful left-handed power stroke. If he could ever stay healthy for a full season he could be a nice bounce-back candidate and surprise the league if given the opportunity to play every day.

The Yankees finally cut the plug on Bird last week, but only because they really had no other choice. They were his biggest supporter through all the injuries and nobody wanted him to succeed as the everyday first basemen more than them. However, as the injuries continued to pile on and Voit and Ford emerged he become expendable.

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It’s a shame things didn’t work out for Bird in New York after he burst onto the scene in 2015, but his career is still far from over and I wish him the best. Yankee fans might be happy to see him go, but they’ll never forget his go-ahead home run against Andrew Miller in Game 3 of the 2017 ALDS.