Yankees bring-back polarizing 1st baseman after dominating Triple-A in Colorado

greg bird, yankees

The New York Yankees had difficulty navigating the first base position this off-season, eventually deciding to bring Anthony Rizzo back on an extension. Rizzo signed a two-year, $32 million deal, despite the Yankees’ intrigue in Freddie Freeman and Matt Olson.

Rizzo is a solid player that offers good defensive qualities and a big lefty bat in the middle of the order. General manager Brian Cashman has focused on acquiring a lefty to play first base, and Rizzo played well for the Bombers last year over 49 games, hitting .249 with eight homers and 21 RBIs.

Unfortunately for Luke Voit, the Yankees never intended on utilizing him as a starter, instead trading him to the San Diego Padres. The Yankees acquired pitching prospect Justin Lange as compensation for Voit.

However, Cashman reunited with one of his favorite prospects from the past, Greg bird. Bird spent between 2011 and 2019 with the Yankees before signing with Colorado and featuring in their Triple-A team in 2021.

Bird was one of the more polarizing prospects in the Yankees farm system, being elevated to start at first base but failing to provide consistency and adequate production.

In 2018, Bird played in 82 games, featuring a .199 average with 11 homers and 38 RBIs. At 28 years old last season at the Triple-A level, he hit .267 with 27 HRs and 91 RBIs, providing a bit of optimism regarding his potential play at the MLB level.

If Rizzo sustains any injury, the Yankees may call upon Greg to fill the spot. However, they also have DJ LeMahieu, their star utility-man, who’s capable of playing many different positions. Last year, LeMahieu played 55 games at first, recording a .997 fielding percentage and one error over 321 innings.

LeMahieu isn’t a lefty hitter, but he has great experience at the spot and is a fantastic defensive player. Despite reuniting with Bird, the Yankees would only use him in a worst-case scenario.

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