Greg Bird is not to be trusted as the regular first baseman for the New York Yankees in 2018. He’s brittle and prone to injury, strikes out too much and he’s a Johnny-come-lately among the Baby Bombers. Then, why is it Brian Cashman expresses so much faith in him? The reasons are myriad.
Take note, as only Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez are better than that. And of all major league players, Bird exceeds the likes of George Springer, the World Series MVP, and Joey Votto, the National League 2017 MVP.,
This is what he is, and no one other than the Baseball America’s Executive of the Year, Brian Cashman, has proclaimed Greg Bird to be the “best pure hitter in the Yankees organization.” He’s backed that idea up by trading Bird’s potential backup, Garrett Cooper, to the Miami Marlins.
No one questions the fact Greg Bird lost, effectively, two full seasons with the Yankees with a debilitating ankle injury. But what I question is why some, like NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty, continue to question what we’ve seen on the field since Bird has returned.
Midseason 2017, there were valid questions about when Bird would return to the Yankees lineup. One reporter even questioned Bird’s “toughness,” a no-no, ever, even if it might be true with a professional athlete.
Bird took it in stride though, raising some eyebrows even within the Yankee’s organization when he told Dan Martin of the New York Post he would play in a Yankee uniform before the season was out, adding, “I know how it feels and I know what I can do, and that’s the relief.”
It turned out to be a relief for all fans of the Yankees too, as he played in every postseason game for his team. Rusty as all hell, but also able to put the sweet spot of his bat on the ball to smack three majestic home runs, Bird, if anything, comforted himself that the injury was behind him and it was time to, just, play ball. He did.
That sweet swing tells all.
Greg Bird, at least so far, is not injury prone.
He suffered one significant injury which took him out of commission for the better part of two years. He will be the starting first baseman for the New York Yankees in 2018, come hell or high water, despite the constant pleas urging Cashman to acquire “some insurance.” Or even, God forbid, to sign a high-priced free agent (I believe Chris Carter is still available).
There’s going to be a party at Yankee Stadium this season and Greg Bird is going to be in the middle of it. For the Yankees, the only question is where do they position him in the lineup.
The tandem of Bird, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius is ready-made to strike fear in any pitcher facing the Yankees. In the early part of the season, we’ll probably see Aaron Boone (hello, did you get that?) mixing and matching until he finds the right combination between the quartet that brings the most production to the team.
But the order in which they bat is not of consequence as long as each of them takes a turn in the lineup on a regular basis.
The best pure hitter in the Yankees organization is about to take the field in 2018. With all the Yankees have going for them this season, together with all they endured last season in his absence, the presence of Greg Bird will be a difference maker in the Yankee lineup.
Greg Bird is probably not destined to be the guy who “carries the team”, but rest assured, he will remind of the likes of Tito Martinez and Don Mattingly, who put their stamp of value on the New York Yankees.
Here’s an invitation to attend the party…don’t miss it.