The linkage between the Yankees and Greg Bird remains a compelling baseball story. With one last gasp of breath and miles from home, it’s all about to end…
The Yankees, perhaps solidifying the class organization they are, have given Greg Bird an all-expenses-paid trip to play winter ball for Gigantes del Cibao of the Dominican Winter League.
For Greg Bird, who turned 27 just yesterday, this is it. There will be no more chances with the Yankees. But more than likely, Bird already knows this. He can see Luke Voit, Mike Ford, and when needed, DJ LeMahieu ahead of him.
Nothing short of a Ruthian performance in the Dominican League will save him from his fate with the Yankees, and even then, Bird will be relegated to the Yankees Triple-A team in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
He’d be okay with that as a soft-landing spot for a career that went haywire, but he knows the Yankees are telling him – “Here’s your chance to prove yourself as a productive and durable player. We wish you the best, but we are releasing you”.
The Yankees and Greg Bird – a unique history
It happens every day in baseball when a player realizes the dream is over, I’ve reached my Harvard in professional baseball, and I’d better get back to college to get those final credits I need for certification as a Phys Ed teacher.
But it’s not that way with Greg Bird, which is the reason why his story remains compelling. A mere four years ago, both Alex Rodriguez and Brian Cashman agreed that Bird was the “best pure hitter” in the entire Yankee organization.
No one forgets how to ride a bike. And yet, how does one explain the .125 batting average with no extra-base hits and no RBI in the seven games Bird has played thus far in the winter league?
We know the history and the injury that came after injury with the accompanying surgeries. And we know about the determination Greg Bird had throughout the rehab processes. As recently as June of this year, Bird believed he was about to turn the corner…
That never happened, of course, and the record will show that Greg Bird made his final appearance as a New York Yankee on April 13, 2019, the 186th game of his major league career.
Greg Bird – the next phase?
Turning the page, there is any number of teams who will jump at the chance to take a flyer on Greg Bird. And why not? Flashes of brilliance put a stamp on his upside as in the case here with that clutch home run off Andrew Miller to give the Yankees the lead in Game 3 of the 2017 ALCS:
But as they say in the rude game of baseball, that was then, and what can you do for me today?
Well, I can’t imagine a scout, general manager, or fan who can hazard a guess to answer the question when it comes to Greg Bird.
But the real and only question is – what does Greg Bird think – and what is his state of mind as he ventures to another team in another city. If you can think of another player who has tried harder to overcome a failing body, please name him.
If you mentioned Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox, I’d agree. But let’s recognize too that Greg Bird is not Yoenis Cespedes or Jacoby Ellsbury.
Round and round we go…
The Yankees will soon close the casket on Greg Bird. They’ve run the table and so has he.
Chances are, Bird will land on those fragile feet of his, and he’ll be grabbed by a team in hopes of catching lightning in a bottle.
That is a fitting next chapter as long as the team he lands with is the Cincinnati Reds or the Miami Marlins where he can do no harm to the Yankees…