New York Yankees: Dellin Betances bids farewell, Greg Bird signs minor-league deal

New York Yankees, Dellin Betances

The New York Yankees are just a few days away from the beginning of spring training, which I guess is the perfect time for players to bid their farewell and embark on new journeys.

Former relief pitcher Dellin Betances joined the Mets on a one-year deal this offseason after missing the entire 2019 campaign with several injuries. He’s still in the process of recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, but he’s expected to be an impactful signing for the Mets in 2020.

He did, however, say farewell to the New York Yankees via Instagram:

I just wanted to say Thank You to the New York Yankees for allowing me to live out my dream as a professional baseball player. The past 14 years of my career have created memories and milestones that I will never forget. I want to thank all my teammates, coaches and staff members – you are family, and I love you guys. To the Yankees fans, thank you for all your support throughout the years, you made me a better player and a better competitor and I will always be grateful for my time as a New York Yankee.

Betances isn’t the only one starting a new chapter in their life, former first baseman Greg Bird also signed a deal with the Rangers’ minor-league system. The 27-year-old was cut loose by the Yankees last November, but he will gain another opportunity to reach his potential at the professional level. His inability to stay healthy has significantly hurt his development.

In four seasons with the Bombers, Bird featured in 186 games, hitting .211 with 32 homers, 98 RBIs, and a .725 OPS.

The Yankees could have a serious issue in the batting order

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

The departure of Didi Gregorius and Aaron Hicks recovering from Tommy John surgery has left the Yankees with a weak spot in the batting order. The lack of lefty bats could be problematic for the Bombers, even with the return of Giancarlo Stanton (production-speaking) in a full-capacity.

The retention of Brett Gardner on a one-year, $12.5 million deal will supplement the deficiency a bit, but he’s not expected to be an every-day starter once Hicks his fully recovered. This could lead to the Yankees pursuing a lefty bat in free agency.

“Our lineup is very right-handed,’’ vice president and assistant GM Michael Fishman said after the Winter Meetings concluded. “Ultimately, we are trying to find the best players. If it can balance the lineup, even better. It’s good to balance the lineup with another lefty.’’

Aside from Gardner, who the Yankees will utilize in the absence of Hicks, Mike Ford is one of the only semi-reliable lefty hitters that can add some diversity to the lineup.

Here’s a look at the projected Yankees lineup in 2020:

  1. DJ LeMahieu (R)
  2. Aaron Judge (R)
  3. Gleyber Torres (R)
  4. Giancarlo Santon (R)
  5. Gary Sanchez (R)
  6. Brett Gardner (L)
  7. Luke Voit (R)
  8. Gio Urshela (R)
  9. Miguel Andujar (DH)

The Yankees also have Mike Tauchman available as a lefty hitter, but he will be second in line behind Gardner to earn any playing time. With the amount of time Judge, Stanton, and Hicks spent on the bench due to injury in 2019, we can expect to see a healthy dosage of Tauchman throughout the 2020 season.

Both Tauchman and Ford, who will act as reserves, displayed decent numbers last season, with the first baseman hitting .259 with 12 homers and 25 RBIs in 50 games, while the outfielder logged a .277 BA with 13 homers and 47 RBIs over 87 games. His sample size was more substantial than Ford’s, and he produced better numbers, making him a great option to earn DH reps if Andujar isn’t ready to contribute early in 2020.

We cannot forget Greg Bird, who’s one of the only lefty hitters on the free-agent market. Alternatively, the Yankees could take fliers on switch-hitter Justin Smoak or Mitch Moreland. I believe the Yankees will stand pat, though, as adding another mediocre hitter just for the sake of bing lefty doesn’t make much sense.

The Yankees blew up the first base position with one swift wave of the magic wand

New York Yankees, Greg Bird

For all of those who remember the constant optimism Brian Cashman spilled over first baseman Greg Bird, the Yankees general manager just waved his magic wand and blew up the first base position with no regard for any life.

In a swift move, Cashman designated Greg Bird for assignment, likely to the pits of infield hell. We may never see the once-promising lefty bat again at the professional level in Pinstripes. You have probably deciphered the sarcasm of the title (a slight on Cashman for always instilling faith in Bird).

Yankees: A little background on Greg Bird

The 27-year-old first baseman debuted in the Bronx in 2015, hitting .261 with 11 homers and 31RBIs over 46 games. His 2016 season was plagued with injuries, as he proceeded to miss the entire campaign. A torn labrum was the culprit. In 2017, he batted a porous .190 over 48 games; however, he did launch three homers in the playoffs, one of which lifted the Yankees over the Cleveland Indians 1-0 in Game 3 of the ALDS.

In 2018, Bird hit .199 with 11 homers and 38 RBIs, losing his starting job to Luke Voit, who was brought over in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals. Voit immediately provided more production, as Bird failed to break .200 in four seasons with the Yankees.

Last season, Bird qualified for arbitration — he earned $1.2 million in salary. He left with a left plantar fascia tear on April 16. In 10 games, he hit .171 with one RBI; his opening day homers off Baltimore’s Paul Fry. That was the final bit of optimism Cashman had for his once-promising Bird.

Now, Cashman will rely on Voit, who hit .263 with 21 homers and 62 RBIs over 118 games. We can assume the Yankees will also elevate Mike Ford to the active roster to supplement any injuries or poor play from Voit if the Bombers don’t go out and find a consistent first baseman in free agency.

However, with Cashman diving into the starting pitching market, minimal investment will be allocated towards the first base position, which guarantees Voit a shot at the starting job.

Did The New York Yankees Make The Right Decisions On Bird And Ellsbury?

New York Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury

On Wednesday, the New York Yankees announced that they DFA’d Greg Bird and released Jacoby Ellsbury. Both moves came as a little bit of a surprise, but Yankee fans were grateful for both moves. However, did the team make the right decisions on the two players?

The Only Answer Is Yes

The New York Yankees absolutely made the right decision to get rid of Bird and Ellsbury. Both players never lived up to expectations with the Yankees, but a lot of that had to do with injuries. The two had trouble getting over injuries, and that affected their performance on the field.

Bird had a career .211 average with the Yankees and a .171 average in 2019 with very limited at-bats. His only real impact with the team was in the 2017 ALDS, when he hit a big home run off Andrew Miller to help keep the Yankees alive.

Ellsbury had a .264 career average with the New York Yankees, hitting 39 home runs and driving in 198 runs. He was a very streaky player, and only spent five of his 13 major league seasons completely healthy (including 2018 and 2019).

Both players have been hurt for a long time and have shown no signs of being healthy soon. Bird has a chance to remain with the Yankees if he isn’t claimed. In that case, he would be placed on the minor league roster and likely get a spring training invite if he is miraculously healthy.

But for Ellsbury, it looks that his career could be over. He hasn’t played in a game since the 2017 postseason, and is now 36 years old. Maybe he can find a way to revitalize his career in the minors or in independent ball, but otherwise he may never play another game.

And he may be okay with that. The Yankees still owe him a ton of money and will be economically set for the rest of his life.

It’s really too bad that both never worked out for the Yankees, but fans definitely wish them the best in whatever is next for the two.

What Should The New York Yankees Do With Greg Bird?

We have forgotten about the existence of Greg Bird in the New York Yankees organization, and time is ticking to make a decision on his future. The Yankees have until December 2nd to make a final decision, but the first deadline is today.

It is the final day to protect players from the Rule 5 draft by putting them on the 40 man roster. They could DFA him and risk losing him in the Rule 5 draft, or keep him on the 40 man for now.

But, they need to decide by December 2nd weather to tender him or not, meaning decide if they want to keep him or release him to free agency.

So what should the Yankees do with him? In my opinion, they should let him walk.

Bird has yet to put up solid numbers with the Yankees and the team has a lot of depth. His career average is .211 in 611 at-bats, and is only really known for his homerun in game three of the 2017 ALDS, a game that the team won 1-0 and staved off elimination from the Cleveland Indians. As we all know, the Yankees won that series and came a game away from the World Series.

There are also several other guys that can play first base for the Yankees. DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit are the obvious ones, Miguel Andujar may shift to first base, and Mike Ford has proven lefty power.

Keeping Greg Bird around would just eat up roster space. He would also be in AAA and probably extremely unhappy. Injuries have been a huge issue for him too, but may thrive on a different team or even overseas.

New York Yankees: Will Greg Bird make a comeback next season?

New York Yankees, Greg Bird

Only playing in ten games with the New York Yankees during the 2019 season, Greg Bird pretty much missed the entire year with a foot injury. An original placement on the 10-day injured list turned into a season-ending injury.

Even though Bird has a history of constant injuries, he decided to play winter ball this offseason. He only played about a week, however, just to see if he fully recovered from his left plantar fascia tear. He was hoping that his play could hint to the Yankees what his role would be for next season.

Even though he finished his week down in the Dominican Republic healthy, he didn’t put up great numbers. He batted .125 with three singles with six walks while fanning eight times in 24 at-bats. To Bird’s defense, it’s not expected that a guy who just came off a season-ending injury to be putting up great numbers during rehab games.

Can Bird make a comeback during the 2020 season?

He’s only appeared in 92 games the last two seasons and 140 games during the last three seasons with the New York Yankees. This is mostly because of his constant injuries setting hin back.

Here’s my thought on Greg Bird: the guy has some real talent. A lot of fans will get on him but he does have a strong lefty swing and can play defense just as good as anyone else in the major leagues. In his professional career with the Yankees, he holds a .998 fielding percentage at first base (Baseball-Reference).

Even though I believe Bird has talent and can produce at the Major League level, I don’t think he’ll find himself in a primary role next season. It’s hard to put a guy who consistently gets hurt into a big role on the team.

With that being said, Bird should be considered as a DH for the team. The Yankees lack strong left-handed power hitters and that’s exactly what Bird is.

New York Yankees could stick with Greg Bird for the future…again

New York Yankees, Greg Bird

The constant appreciation for long-distance lover Greg Bird seems to be the pride-driven mentality for New York Yankees general manager, Brian Cashman. His obsession with getting the lefty hitter healthy has damaged the success of the team at times and has instilled unnecessary faith in a player that can’t go half a season without picking up an injury.

Bird enjoyed just 41 at-bats last season, logging a .171 batting average. The previous three seasons have been lackluster for the first-baseman as he’s failed to breach the .200 mark. Cashman seems convinced that Bird will reach his potential one day, though, despite Luke Voit emerging as a better offensive option. Bird is still a fantastic defensive player, but utility man DJ LeMahieu also proved he could weather the storm at first base, taking value away from the position.

What is Greg Bird up to now for the New York Yankees?

The “Bird” is the word some would say. I would say, how the hell is the”Bird” still the word? The Yankees’ first baseman made his Dominican Winter League debut Tuesday night, hitting in the cleanup spot for the Gigantes Del Ciabo. Quite the change of scenery from Yankee Stadium just last year.

The 26-year-old enjoyed just first action since April 13, just before going down with a surprising plantar fascia tear in his left foot. His ten games last season forced the Bombers to stick with Voit and eventually traded for slugger, Edwin Encarnacion.

Will the Yankees finally cut Bird?

MLB Trade Rumors projects that Bird will earn $1.3 million via arbitration in 2020. Cashman could finally elect to cut ties with his long-time favorite prospect, but the string is too thin to remain attached. Bird could be using this opportunity in the Dominican league that he’s still able to compete at a high level — an audition in a sense.

The Yankees should move on from him and open up a spot on the 40-man roster for next season. They’re better off testing out a talent like pitching Deivi Garcia than taking anther flier on Greg.

 

The one player the New York Yankees don’t need returning to the lineup

New York Yankees, Greg Bird

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has an odd obsession with first baseman Greg Bird. So much so, that despite him not hitting over .200 in the last three years, he’s still a consistent option on the starting team.

Bird went down with an injury this season, being placed on the 60-day injured list with the left plantar fascia tear. A working timeline for his return has not been determined, but Cashman will likely find a way to see him back to the active roster. Hopefully, it won’t be until next season when he’s completely healthy again. In all seriousness, he shouldn’t return at all.

The reality of Bird’s situation is simple; he doesn’t have the offensive production required to be a starter on the Yankees team. He has exceptional defensive traits and qualities, but those only go so far when it comes to playing against some of the best teams in the league come playoff time.

However, he could’ve been used after both Luke about, and Edwin Encarnacion went down with injuries. Utility man DJ LeMahieu has covered for both starters in the meantime. The Yankees also pulled up minor-league first baseman Mike Ford to supplement the loss of their two starters. Luckily, both sluggers will return to full health in the coming weeks.

Is New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird on the recovery trail?

He’s actually doing pretty well,” Boone added. “He’s been on the treadmill of late. I know in his mind, just from the reports I’ve gotten, he’s starting to feel pretty good. So hopefully he’s potentially moving towards getting back into baseball activities.”

Boone didn’t state that Bird was officially done for the season, but it’s seeming like he will be out until next year with the September 1 deadline to call up players nearing.

After an impressive rookie season in 2015 where Bird hit .261 with 11 homers and 31 RBIs in 46 games, he’s failed to replicate anything close to those numbers. It seems like a pipe-dream to expect anything more than mediocrity from him at the plate moving forward.

New York Yankees Injury Updates: Severino, Betances, German, and More

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

As the season progresses, the New York Yankees players are finally coming off the injured list. Key players Didi Gregorius and Aaron Hicks have already made their return. Bomber’s sluggers Giancarlo Stanton is returning Tuesday against the Rays and Aaron Judge is expected to return later this week.

As the injury bug seems to be disappearing, there are Yankees players that are still suffering:

Luis Severino

Yankees’ ace Luis Severino (lat) will not return until after the All-Star break. However, Severino is expected to start throwing from a mound next week.

Dellin Betances

Dellin Betances (shoulder) has said that he is still dealing with discomfort and is not sure when he will resume throwing. It would not be a surprise if Yankee fans see Betances make his return after the All-Star break as well.

Domingo German

Domingo German (hip) was making a huge impact on the Yankees’ so-far successful season holding a 9-2 record when he suffered his injury. German said his hip has been improving and is becoming more mobile. He began throwing on flat ground, however, there is no timetable for his return yet.

Troy Tulowitzki

Troy Tulowitzki (calf) was making progress when he suffered another setback. Tulowitzki was pulled from his rehab game in high-A Tampa a few weeks ago and there have been no updates since. Manager Aaron Boone met with media today and said that he has nothing to say on Tulowitzki’s progress.

Ben Heller, Greg Bird, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Jacoby Ellsbury

These four Yankees will not see the field for some time. Big Yankee names Bird (foot) and Ellsbury (foot) are expected to not return until early to mid-August.

New York Yankees Injury Updates: Hicks’ Return, Judge Timetable, and More

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks

As the weeks go on, the New York Yankee’s main guys are starting to roll back in off the injured list. Yankee fans are anticipating the return of these players.

New York Yankees: Aaron Hicks preparing to make a return

Homering in his last triple-A game in his rehab assignment, Aaron Hicks will be returning to the Yankees’ roster Monday. He will most likely not be in the starting lineup but he will definitely be on an option on the bench.

Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge obtained an oblique injury on April 20th and has not resumed any baseball activities yet. It seems he will not return until late May or early June. However, manager Aaron Boone said, “[Judge] is making good improvements every day.”

Giancarlo Stanton

Injuring his bicep in early April, Giancarlo Stanton was taking steps back in the recovery process. After injuring his bicep, he obtained a shoulder injury during rehabbing. Stanton said that he believes the shoulder injury came from the bicep strain. The Yankees management believes that he will not be in the lineup anytime soon. It is worth noting however that Stanton was throwing before the Mariners game on Wednesday night. Stanton has also been working out at the minor league complex, where he was taking swings in the cage and doing some fielding work.

Didi Gregorius

Last season following the playoffs, it was announced that Didi Gregorius was to undergo Tommy John surgery. Gregorius has been rehabbing ever since the procedure and recently is making very positive progress. YES Network’s Meredith Marakovits talked with Didi yesterday prior to the game where he said, “I’m feeling pretty good, getting there, almost ready to go.” Gregorius has been traveling with the team and has been fielding groundballs, taking swings, and throwing consistently. His return is expected in the next few weeks, most likely in early June.

Dellin Betances

Dellin Betances (shoulder) was throwing a flat-ground at 60 feet before yesterday’s game and said to be feeling good. Betances has been traveling with the team and following their return to New York, he will begin to throw at 75 feet. He is making a positive improvement, but will not be returning anytime soon.

Luis Severino

General manager Brian Cashman confirmed that Luis Severino will not return until after the All-Star break. He is currently in a six-week shutdown, and will not be throwing until late May or early June. Once healthy again, Severino will most likely be given a multi-start rehab assignment before being reinstated to the active roster.

Greg Bird

Greg Bird (foot) is no longer wearing a boot but is still walking with pain. With a left plantar fascia tear, it seems Bird is not close to making a return anytime soon.