By: Kento Kato
Greg Bird’s injury didn’t sound like huge deal when the news first broke. Sure he was someone the Yankees had looked to take the next step as the heir apparent to Mark Texiera at first base. But I’m sure there were Yankees faithfuls around the world that would point to the fact that we still have the aforementioned Texiera, who hit .255 with 31 home runs and 79RBIs before fracturing his shin. Surely, Texiera is still the opening day starter and he is still the better, more polished player for the time being. So why is an injury to a backup first baseman something to worry about?
Well the Yankees have actually been trying to be smart with their money and become younger. Something Yankees fans are not used to hearing. And Greg Bird was one of the pieces that was at the center of that plan. The Yankees are still a threat to make a big signing, but gone are the days in which the Yankees would cash out for every available big name free agent. Instead, they have become more selective and have decided to bank their future on a core 3 of Severino, Bird, and Tripple-A prospect Aaron Judge. The plan was for Bird, who hit 11 home runs and had 31RBIs in his rookie season as a Bronx Bomber, to take over permanently for Texiera next year, after his 8 year $180 million contract ends. This is still the route the Yankees are looking to go down, and it will still probably happen.
But all of this shows you that rebuilding is a lot easier said than done. One injury and a pan can be changed, ruined even. And while having a smart, and patient front office is key, you have to remember that there is still a bit of luck involved. The most obvious reason to why this was a big year for both Bird and the Yankees was the continued growth that many expected from Bird. Additionally, Bird would have been a great back up to Alex Rodriguez and Mark Texiera and the Yankees would have been able to take a better look at if Bird if someone they want to stake their future on. Now, they will be forced to make a decision between keeping an aging, injury-plagued Texiera, get someone in the market, or go all in with an unproven first baseman coming off of an injury. While many still believe that the Yankees will turn to the promising youngster, it will be interesting to see how the Yankees play this and to see if Texiera will make a push to stay here after his contract end.