Yankees re-sign fan favorite Greg Bird after surprise Blue Jays release


As the New York Yankees sent their own redemption story back to Triple-A in Manny Bañuelos, it turned out the Toronto Blue Jays were pondering between two ex-Yanks for one of their final roster spots.

Ultimately, the one you’re likely less familiar with won out, in a surprising reversal.

See, for most of March, Yankee fans were likely girded for Greg Bird, former 2015 savior turned 2017 playoff Bomber turned glass-made disappointment, to rise again from the ashes and start slugging in Toronto.

After all, he was back and healthy, mashing to the tune of a .958 OPS in 23 at-bats in camp following a solid return to form for the Triple-A Rockies in 2021. Mix in the semi-revenge element, and why wouldn’t Bird be allowed to make the squad?

Against all odds, Bird was demoted and released from his contract, reentering the free agent pool at around the same time erroneous reports leaked that another ex-Yankee, Rob Refsnyder, had made the Red Sox (he hadn’t).

… Yankees on line one?!

Turns out, the Bombers’ brass wasn’t quite done with Bird yet, after releasing him in 2019. One day later, the Yanks scooped him up and assigned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. And THAT is how you pull off a revenge move.

Yankees signed Greg Bird after watching him get released

While this fanbase was fully prepared to mentally minimize Bird’s success this spring in the name of pretending the Blue Jays hadn’t suckered them, this is a much better outcome.

Though Bird stayed in the organization through 2019, he hadn’t left an indelible mark on the team since 2017, when he struck a solo home run against Andrew Miller in Game 3 that tilted the ALDS, then rang one off the pole in Houston for one of the three runs scored in four road games in that series.

After those moments, though, Bird fell apart in ways both perceptible (his achy foot) and imperceptible (his now-a-step-slow swing). By the end of 2019, he was a reviled spare part preaching eternal patience and smiling through failure, instead of the messenger of hope he’d been after his initial promotion.

Ultimately, the Jays chose another ex-Yankee instead, bringing versatile infielder Gosuke Katoh north of the border.

Which former Yankees farmhand will end up with the upper hand? If Bird can stay healthy, he could end up getting big-league reps sooner rather than later, filling the Hard Hittin’ Chris Gittens role.

Unfortunately for Bird, that’s been a massive “if” for a half-decade. At least, if he puts it all together this April, he’ll be doing so in the correct uniform.