Rough week for New York Yankees fans. They lost one of the exciting pieces of their youth movement for the 2016 season. It is a huge blow, but not as big for 2016 as it may be for the future.
Bird won’t fly in 2016
Greg Bird is out for 2016. This is disappointing because when Mark Teixeira went down for the year — which it’s highly likely he will do again — Bird played remarkably well. If it weren’t for the outburst of top prospects around MLB, Bird would have surely received more recognition.
He slashed .261/.343/.529 while belting 11 home runs and driving in 31 runs in just 178 plate appearances. His fielding percentage and range factor were both above league average for first basemen, which is important in replacing Tex who has become known for his defense (despite it clearly slipping from elite status the past few seasons).
The 2011 fifth round draft pick injured his shoulder earlier in the season in Double-A and spent time on the DL. He came back and was able to play with the torn labrum and at season’s end, Yankees doctors felt he didn’t need surgery. Maybe it’s time for new Yankees doctors because a mere few months later with little improvement to the shoulder, Bird is under the knife for shoulder surgery.
Like I said above, I don’t think this is as detrimental as it may sound for the 2016 season. With a (currently) healthy Tex, Bird was slated to start the season in Triple-A. He would be able to hone his uncanny plate discipline and improve his ability at drawing walks and making solid contact while he awaited the inevitable Tex injury to make his return to the Bronx.
That won’t happen this year, but it is the future I am more concerned about. Bird’s ticket to the big leagues is that nice, smooth swing. A shoulder injury could change all of that. I’m more worried about 2017 than I am the now.
So what do the Yankees do in the short term? It seems Cashman won’t bring in a free agent to ride the pine in case Tex gets hurt. To be perfectly honest, I agree with that rationale. Should the Yankees sign a Pedro Alvarez for example, he would have nowhere to play until said injury occurs, aside from spelling Chase Headley or Tex on the rare occasion.
That being said, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Alvarez or Juan Uribe were in pinstripes by Monday.
I also don’t believe in moving A-Rod to first base. The guy is 41-years old. We saw him wear down and show the world that he is actually human. There is no reason to push A-Rod harder than he needs to be. His horse is on its final laps, so just let him rake.
I think the Yankees transition Brian McCann to the backup first baseman position. He made 10 appearances there last season and showed he could do it more regularly with a little more work. Plus, it would get Gary Sanchez time behind the plate, unless you really believe Austin Romine or Carlos Corporan are the answer. It’s time to unleash Sanchez and this is the first step in getting him more time behind the plate.
I just hope Bird recovers. I watched him play four times live last season and he was a hit machine every time. His swing is just fun to watch and I hope it returns to full strength and Bird returns to full health.
Cashman’s biggest regret
Brian Cashman admitted he made a mistake. Just one.
Cashman told Bryan Hoch that 17 years later he regretted making the Mike Lowell trade. Really? He wasn’t happy with the return of Ed Yarnall, Todd Noel and Mark Johnson. If you just asked who, you aren’t alone.
“We’re in a better position, I think, because of analytics and our education on it,” Cashman told Hoch. “The data streams and stuff, I’m not sure if it would have changed the decision-making back then or not. We didn’t have access to that type of stuff back then. I think it was a trade of need for both organizations. We had depth to trade from, as did the Marlins. It just didn’t work on our end. It worked out for them.”
It was a huge blunder. Of course at the time, the Yankees had Scott Brosius, but in hindsight it seems the Yankees should have displayed patience. Instead they jumped the gun, disillusioned by high draft status and 100-mile radar guns.
Lowell would go on to have a pretty darn good career. He would get his revenge in 2003, winning a World Series on the Marlins team that took down the Yanks. He would later be part of the Red Sox Hanley Ramirez trade and head to Boston where he would win World Series MVP in 2007.
Regrets? Lowell couldn’t have gotten back at his former team any worse than he had. He defeated them in the World Series and then was single handedly the reason their biggest rival won their second World Series in four seasons.
Instead Yankees fans had two wonderful seasons of Robin Ventura at third base after Brosius retired before the signing of A-Rod changed the face of the Yankees forever. Ventura of course was injured in the 2003 postseason, which opened the door for a one Aaron Boone to get in the lineup.
Excuse me… Aaron F’n Boone.
Ronald Torreyes back with the Yankees… for now
Man, what an offseason this guy has had, huh? He has been a Los Angeles Dodger, a Yankee, a Los Angeles Angel of Anaheim in California and now a Yankee again. He has now been on just about every team in baseball since signing with the Reds in 2010 as an International Free Agent.
The Yankees DFA’d Lane Adams in order to sign Torreyes back to the roster. Torreyes of course was originally DFA’d to make room for Adams a week ago. Adams is an outfielder and Torreyes is a utility infielder so the move makes sense, especially considering that Torreyes has seen MLB pitching.
If either are expected to make an impact for the New York Yankees this season, they are in bigger trouble than fans hoped for in 2016.