The 2016 New York Yankees are on a rollercoaster ride and I’m enjoying every second of it. They started the season as the oldest team in baseball and now suddenly after making a few key moves at the trade deadline, this team has become young and exciting to watch again.
Gary Sanchez is an extra base hit machine. Aaron Judge has the power of two smaller Aaron Judge’s. And Tyler Austin looks to usurp the first base throne from the retiring Mark Teixeira. The future is looking bright for the Bronx Bomber.
But there is a bit of a problem in regards to the 2017 season: Greg Bird.
In 2015, Greg Bird played in only 46 games at the end of the season but hit 11 bombs with 31 RBIs. He was poised to be the next great first baseman once injury prone Teixeira finally decided that he’d rather retire than spend another 2-3 years on and off of the disabled list.
But then Bird tore his labrum in spring training and missed the entire 2016 season. In came Tyler Austin to pick up the pieces as he hit a home run in his first plate appearance in the big leagues. Austin has cooled off a bit as he’s only hitting .167 and seems to swing at anything thrown in a 3-mile radius but the team seems prepared to make him a starter in the future.
So what do the Yankees do? Earlier this month, Joe Girardi was basically asked “hey uh, do you remember Greg Bird or nah?”
“Well, Greg got his chance last year in a sense,” Girardi said. “So I think he knows we believe in what he’s capable of doing. We’ve seen him in Tampa and we follow how he’s been doing. We know exactly what he’s doing. He’s definitely in our plans and we think he’s going to be a very good player. Now, again, you have to go out and prove that, but we’ve seen him do that. So your hope is that he gets reps this fall and he’s ready next spring.”
If Tyler Austin can change positions that would sweet although there is still no actual spot on the Yankees to put him. Chase Headley will be around forever so third base is occupied. The outfield is pretty much locked up with Jacoby Ellsbury under contract until the end of time.
Greg Bird has a higher ceiling. A lefty in Yankee Stadium can hit about 50 home runs a week. Austin will make for a great trade chip and can perhaps be used to help get a better starting rotation next season as Nathan Eovaldi will be out for the year.