Greg Bird will not play in 2016. His loss affects the New York Yankees on multiple fronts, especially this late in the offseason.
By Skylar Darel
The direction of the New York Yankees franchise has shifted over the past few seasons, from big spending in free agency to a serious investment in young talent.
That investment took a huge blow Monday, when it was announced by the team that 23 year old first baseman Greg Bird will miss the season with a torn labrum, as reported by Joel Sherman, and confirmed by the Yankees organization.
I have learned Greg Bird is going to miss all of the 2016 season. Going for shoulder surgery tomorrow #Yankees
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) February 1, 2016
1B Greg Bird will undergo surgery Tuesday to repair a right shoulder labrum tear and will miss the 2016 season.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) February 1, 2016
This is undoubtably a huge blow for the Yankees, who watched Bird blossom into a fine young player during his first big league season.
In 46 games, Bird collected 41 hits, slapping 11 home runs and driving in 31. His .529 slugging percentage was the second highest on the team for players with a minimum of 40 games.
Bird was particularly important down the stretch, when everyday first baseman Mark Teixeira went down with injury. Tex was putting in another All-Star performance offensively, while playing his consistently strong defense at first. Bird stepped in seamlessly, and his solid second half gave some pundits and fans a sense that he might give Teixeira some serious competition at first in 2016.
At the very worst, Bird would have been an elite bench player, who would fill in at first or at designated hitter. Considering some of the ages of the Yankee hitters– Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Carlos Beltran are 35, 40, and 38 respectively– Bird would have been a key player going forward.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) February 1, 2016
Now, he’ll have to sit out all of the 2016 season, negatively affecting the Yankees offensive prowess and depth. Teixeira’s value to the team now doubles, as he is without a proven backup on the 25-man roster.
The Yankees could look to trade for a backup first baseman, or to go through free agency. Two potential options are veterans Corey Hart and Justin Morneau. Both are over 33, and still looking for a new home this offseason.
Regardless of which route the Yankees take, the loss of Greg Bird will be tough on the Yankees in 2016.