MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees

Where do the Yankees put Greg Bird?

The Yankees are in a tough position. They have three good players and two spots to put them. This season, Mark Teixeira bounced back to hit .255 with 31 home runs in just 111 games with exceptional defense. He is clearly a player that needs to be starting for the Yankees at first base. Alex Rodriguez also had a comeback season, hitting .250/.356/.486 with 33 home runs. There shouldn’t be any question that Rodriguez deserves to start at DH every day. Greg Bird, who was called up on August 13th, was the Yankees’ savior down the stretch, batting .261 with 11 home runs and 31 RBI’s in a mere 46 games. Bird was one of the team’s best prospects, and now is one of their best hitters. Sending Bird down to Triple-A would just be cruel, and if the Yankees sit Bird, it could hurt his development. Notice a problem? None of these players should ever be on the bench, but one of them has to be.

Switch Positions

Sure, it looks like the Yankees have three players for two spots, but it would be a whole lot easier if they had three players for three spots. They could do this by moving one of A-Rod, Teixeira, or Bird to right field or third base. Let’s start with Teixeira. The five-time Gold Glover winner has played 1659 games at first base, and last played another position in 2004. Moving Teixeira off of first base isn’t an option. Next up is Alex Rodriguez…could he move back to third base?

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 10.06.29 PM

Okay, let’s shut that idea down. Greg Bird is only 22, relatively athletic, and was a catcher before being drafted. Of the three, it is most feasible to ask him to move to another spot on the field. Then again, he had to stop catching because of a major back injury, and Brian Cashman dismissed the idea of trying Greg Bird at another position. Making matters worse, if Bird moved, where would he go? Chase Headley isn’t moving, and has three years left on a $50 million contract. In left field is Carlos Beltran, who was the Yankees’ best hitter in the second half. He may regress some, but Aaron Judge is getting closer to the MLB. This plan is flawed two-fold. Not only is it unrealistic to expect any of these three to switch positions, but there’s also nowhere for them to move to.

Grade: F

Trade a player

A player moving positions doesn’t make much sense, but a player moving teams may be a bit more pragmatic. Or not…Alex Rodriguez did have a nice 3.0 WAR season that could interest some teams, but he’s 40, signed through 2017 at $21 million a year, and batted .216 in the second half of this season. Teixeira, 35, is getting paid $23 million through next season, so he’s nearly impossible to trade as well. Greg Bird is equally untradeable, but in a different way. The Yankees would be foolish to trade away Bird for anybody, especially considering that Teixeira is a free agent after next season. I guess this plan is more possible than the first one, but it’s still a bad idea.

Grade: D

Sit Mark Teixeira

The Yankees aren’t going to fix the numbers situation through a position change or a trade, so they may have to accept their fate and sit a player. The first possibility is to sit Mark Teixeira. Sure, he is old and was hurt for much of last season, but Teixeira is the best player of the three. Not only does he bring brilliant defense, but Teixeira also had the third most WAR in the AL in the first half of 2015. He likely won’t repeat that offensive performance, but he could come close. Bird may eventually perform on that level, but it’s unrealistic to expect that in his first full MLB season.

Grade: D+

Send Down Greg Bird

There’s not a big difference between sending down Greg Bird and sitting him. Either way, they lose a valuable bat from the starting lineup. That said, there are still some positives and negatives for this approach. On the bright side, there’s less of a chance of Bird’s development being hurt. It certainly won’t help his morale to be back in the minors, but it’s better than robbing him of vital at bats. But, the Yankees will lose out on having a powerful pinch hitter, and a great option off the bench when A-Rod or Teixeira need a breather. If Bird is sent down, the team may need to look outside the organization for a bench bat, one that is unlikely to be as valuable as Bird. While this option would cause outcry from the fanbase, it does make some sense.

Grade: C

Sit Greg Bird

Teixeira is a better option at first base than Bird is, so purely from a numbers standpoint, sitting Bird is reasonable. Bird could be due for some second year regression with the league adjusting to him, and he had a .319 BABIP in 2015, which while not egregious, suggests he was a bit lucky.   But from a developmental and long term perspective, this makes less sense.  Depriving Greg Bird of at bats for possibly a whole year could mess with him.  This move could be short-sighted, and could come back to haunt the Yankees.  On the bright side, Bird would be a valuable power bat off the bench, or for when A-Rod or Teixeira need rest, which is relatively frequently.  Still, he wouldn’t play more than two or three games a week unless there is an injury.  There’s actually some positives to this approach, but the risk of stunting Greg Bird’s development is scary.

Grade: C+

Sit Alex Rodriguez

Greg Bird shouldn’t start over Teixeira, but the difference between he and A-Rod is much closer. The challenge is that first-half Alex and second-half Alex are completely different players.




Greg Bird





Alex Rodriguez First Half





Alex Rodriguez Second Half





Based on the beginning of 2015, Rodriguez deserves to start. But when looking at the latter half of the year, Bird is easily the better player.  Rodriguez’s first half wasn’t a fluke. He is, or was at the time, capable of that performance. The second half wasn’t really a fluke either, though. Rodriguez wasn’t necessarily unlucky, he just wasn’t the same player. This was mostly due to fatigue which led to decreased bat speed.  The challenge is that it’s impossible to know which Rodriguez will show up next Spring. The offseason could have rejuvenated Rodriguez, and in that case, he is probably the better hitter. But if the bat speed hasn’t came back, and Rodriguez is just too old to be an offensive weapon, he should end up on the bench. A debate between Rodriguez and Bird is certainly warranted and for now, there’s no clear answer. Either way, it’s unlikely that Bird or Rodriguez is a significantly better hitter than the other. Should the Yankees sit A-Rod, they could be missing out on a player who can hit 30+ home runs.  Theoretically, Rodriguez would be a dangerous pinch hitter, but he has hit just .208 in that role over his career. This plan is flawed, but it could make the most sense. It all depends on how Rodriguez looks in the Spring. 

Grade: B-


When the best option for a situation grades out as B-, there’s certainly no perfect, nor good, answer. That being said, a decision has to be made. “The best player plays” approach should largely be used here, and that means that Teixeira will be starting. It’s unclear whether Rodriguez or Bird is the better option, though. At this point in time, I believe that Bird should be starting over Rodriguez. If Rodriguez shows up to Spring Training with his bat speed back and is hitting well again, though, Rodriguez deserves to start. In that scenario, Bird would be best served as a useful bench bat, who could receive two or three starts a week. Being on the bench and not receiving at bats could hurt Bird’s development, but he would still get enough at bats to stay involved. The Yankees have always complemented Bird’s makeup, and I would expect him to be fine on the bench, though getting consistent at bats in the minors isn’t a bad idea. The Yankees are in an uncomfortable situation here, but a decision will have to be made. While I think that Bird should be the team’s starting DH, it wouldn’t surprise me if Cashman sends Bird back to the minors. That will create a lot of controversy, but it’s a reasonable decision.

(Photo: Brad Penner-USA Today Sports)

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19 comments on “Where do the Yankees put Greg Bird?”


In my opinion A-Rod should be explored to see if anyone would take him if we ate 95% of the contract. If that doesn’t work, I make him a player coach, with him taking over the hitting duties. If he refuses to do that, I release him. Beltran needs to be the full time DH, opening up right field for Judge eventually, but initially for Bird to play RF. I know he has a bad back, but RF in Yankee stadium is small. Then after next year, Judge is in RF and Bird at first, with McCann taking a lot of the DH at bats and either Sanchez or Murphy the primary catcher.


I like this idea. Another option would be to make A-Rod the DH against lefties and Bird the DH against right hand pitching. Bird must stay with the team AND get sufficient AB. The important thing must be what’s best for the team – not what’s best for A-Rod and his ego.


Easy for you to say to “release him” when you’re not paying his salary. I say wait it out and eventually either A-Rod or Tex will get injured opening up everyday playing for Bird.


Decent idea but I dont think the Yanks are gonna even consider trying Bird at another position…Also, doubt they just release A-Rod and eat the contract.

ron f.


David H

Plan B … play each about 2/3 of the time.. Until/unless someone gets injured (which will probably happen), or someone distinguishes themselves and earns more (or less) time. This has to be the right approach. If Bird slumps he must have options and can spend a stretch in the minors if it seems like a good idea at the time.

Ray B

Plan Z….. Second base (never know), try other ones there.


I have the best option for all of this. Teixiera plays 1B, Beltran plays RF, and Rodriguez is the DH. Bird will get playing time at 1B during the season because Tex has become frail in recent years so the days of Tex getting 600 plus ab’s are over. Beltran to has had issues staying on the field since the Yankees acquired him. Rodriguez based on the numbers he put up in the 2nd half tells me that he wore down. With that said it seems that you could find AB’s for Bird at DH, 1B, and RF. If Bird can get 450 ab’s you could see production approaching 25 hrs and 75 RBIS’s. By Bird filling in like mentioned above the Yankees would have 3 positions locked down with solid production and have the injury uncertainties covered for 2016, well, unless, more than one of the above players gets and injury at the same time. GRADE A-

Les Schraeder

Everything depends on if the Yankees are trying to max out 2016 or playing for the future. Since Beltran and Teixeira are gone after next year why should they get any kind of consideration? Start Bird at first and use Beltran and Teixeira off the bench or in a revolving D.H. capacity with A-Rod. If Bird can’t handle the promotion then merely replace him with Teixeira.

Just rotate them , one day Bird sits, next day A-rod sits, next day Tex sits. or every 3rd day one of them sits, till u figure who the hot player is, then go with him. also testing Bird is not a bad idea either

Testing Bird at 3rd base is not a bad idea


Couldn’t agree more with this article…people are missing that no matter who sits, the age and injury history of A-Rod and Tex is going to force the Yankees to split up at bats pretty equally. It just comes down to who will be starting at DH opening day, A-Rod and Bird. I would hate hate hate to see Bird back in Triple-A, but can’t say it would shock me…the Yankees have done dumber things.


It’s simple. You trade Texeira and get something for him if you can-even if you have to eat some of his salary. He’s been dead weight for 5 years. Let’s get someone in there who wants to compete in the playoffs instead of make excuses why they aren’t producing. I would rather have a young kid in there who wants to compete every day, plus Bird delivers. To put up the numbers Bird did, in the heat of a pennant race, tells me he has “IT”.
Bird is a first baseman [.]


@Kev, I disagree that Tex has been dead weight for 5 years. From the article:
“Teixeira also had the third most WAR in the AL in the first half of 2015″
That’s really valuable, I think he deserves to start. If anything, A-Rod should be sitting, he hit .216 in the second half.


Let that jerk Aroid go, pay 90 per cent of his salary, good riddance to ahold!

1.) Bird as late inning replacement and match up start against certain pitchers Tex cannot hit well against. Bird would do well as pinch hitter in mid to late inning opportunities where Tex is clearly not the offensive threat by percentage match ups against certain opposing bull pen pitchers.
2.) DH Tex when A-Rod needs some rest.
3.) Bird in second game of double headers 1B starter.
4.) Month of September, Bird gets majority of starts to keep Tex fresh for the post-season.


Let that jerk Aroid go, pay 90 per cent of his salary, good riddance to ahole


The article makes an assumption I disagree with. Headley is not a fixture at third. He strikes out looking more than anyone else on the team. They should move him by trade even if they have to pick up a part of his salary. Bird can be tried at third or for so long as Tex is healthy Bird can divide the DH duties with ARod who should be rested more often in any case.

Greg Bird

You make the assumption that Headley can be moved…If they Yankees don’t want him, I dont think anyone else will and they wouldnt ever have a 13 mil backup third baseman.

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