Per a report, the Texas Rangers have agreed to a minor league deal with former Yankees’ first baseman, Greg Bird, with an invite to major league Spring Training.
The Texas Rangers continue to add depth with big league experience to their organization this offseason most recently agreeing to a minor league deal with former Yankees’ first baseman, Greg Bird. The deal, reported by George A. King III of the New York Post, includes an invitation to major league Spring Training.
Bird, 27, made his big league debut in 2015 with the Yankees and played parts of the 2017-2019 seasons with the AL side of New York. The 6’4″ first baseman has dealt with his fair share of injuries throughout his career including a torn labrum that required surgery and an ankle issue that prompted him going under the knife. The pileup of injuries has severely limiting his playing time and development with the left-handed hitter’s high for games played in a season was just 82 in the 2018 campaign.
In Bird’s first taste of big league action, the lefty impressed hitting .261 and homering 11 times in just 46 games. However, after missing all of 2016, his impressive .871 OPS from the 2015 season has dropped considerably year-by-year to .710 in 2017, .672 in 2018 and then .550 in just 10 games last season. Through his limited playing time, Bird has been fairly solid defensively at first base with a UZR/150 of 3.4 in over 1400 innings.
For the Rangers, this is a flier with the hope that what we saw in 2015 with New York, wasn’t a fluke. The Rangers have had success in the past bringing in injury-plagued players or those looking for a rebirth, most recently with Danny Santana and Hunter Pence just last year. Bird will add another option at first base entering Spring Training, a position it seems Texas is not wholly convinced they have the answer at with Ronald Guzman. Slightly surprising is that Bird is a left-handed hitter which removes any possibility that he could be a platoon option with Guzman once the season rolls around.
If Texas Rangers’ fans are hoping to draw conclusions about the remainder of Texas’ offseason plans from this deal, it doesn’t seem like Bird would be a signal that they are no longer looking for upgrades that could push Guzman out of his starting role. Bird isn’t going to platoon with Guzman and doesn’t have a good enough reputation with his bat to suggest he could be of much value as a DH at this point. What this does allow is flexibility on the Rangers end of things to shuffle players whether via trade or within the organization to fit their plans for the 2020 season.