When the New York Yankees lost Dustin Ackley to a torn labrum, they realized that their backup plan for first base may be thinner than anticipated.
The New York Yankees were sitting in a comfortable seat with the first baseman of the future, who was clearly major league ready, backing up their current gold glove award winner coming off an MVP-like 2015 campaign.
In 2015, prior to breaking his leg, Teixeira slugged 31 home runs while driving in 79 runs along with a .997 fielding percentage featuring a well deserved All-Star appearance. When he went down after fouling a pitch off his right leg, no one knew that the guy manning the position in Triple-A would provide New York with such a threat in the lineup.
Bird, upon being called to the Bronx on August 13 at 22-years old, slugged 11 home runs and recorded 31 RBI while maintaining a slash line of .261/.343/.529.
Of course, his fielding capabilities weren’t nearly as efficient as the man who has saved countless of throwing errors by his defense since his arrival seven years ago, but 42 home runs from these two fellas aren’t too shabby now is it?
What Bird did was give Yankees assurance that they had a more than competent alternative at first base and a potential replacement for an aging and increasingly injury-prone first baseman they already had.
Unfortunately for New York, they lost Bird for the 2016 season due to a torn labrum in his right shoulder meaning the security blanket for the first baseman that is way past his prime flew out the window and the question arose: Are the Yankees in trouble?
Initially, that question was deemed unimportant as they had great confidence in Dustin Ackley as the potential replacement thanks to his .306 batting average and four home runs in 21 September games a year ago. With that, the organization tried to downplay the Bird injury.
But we all comprehended how consequential of a deal it was. And now, while we’re not even in the month of June, we are getting a sour taste in regards to how significant Greg Bird’s injury is now that Ackley has suffered the exact same harm.
Hold on just a second. The Yankees haven’t just started feeling it. They have felt it all season long thanks to the power outage Teixeira has gone through and the lack of productivity by Ackley during the playing time he has received.
Heading into tonight’s matchup with the Toronto Blue Jays, the man who is known for sending his phone bill way up with extra “Tex Messages” is batting a feeble .195. Worst of all: he’s experiencing a power outage and I’m starting to worry about when the generator is going to kick in.
He hasn’t hit a home run in 129 at-bats, way longer than his longest desiccation of his career. His last dinger came on April 13.
Does Greg Bird’s injury hurt the team more now that Ackley has hit the DL?
— ChristianKouroupakis (@Ck260) May 31, 2016
If the Yankees had Bird, although this isn’t assured, they would have had an intimidating option sitting behind their struggling slugger but instead, they possess a man who is slashing .148/.243/.148 with no extra-base hits in 61 at-bats so far this season.
Even before Ackley’s injury, the Yankees’ options at first base weren’t sufficient enough to come up with a resolution notwithstanding Teixeira’s horrible numbers.
As long as he’s healthy, his fielding capabilities are worthwhile even when his bat fails to show up for work. Not to mention, there isn’t another first baseman to pick from the farm that will serve as a productive stand-in option.
Bottom line is, the Yankees were in trouble before Ackley found a spot on the disabled list. The New York Yankees hopelessly require Teixeira to be more serviceable than he’s been these initial two months of 2016.
If production from the three-time All-Star will coincide along Bird missing the whole year the Bronx Bombers are in some profound trouble, if they aren’t already. That’s just baseball, folks.
There is simply not a single team in Major League Baseball that can endure a shockingly rotten season from one of the main components in the lineup let alone when the team’s best alternative is on the shelf until 2017.