The Yankees announced Wednesday that 1B Greg Bird has decided to elect free agency instead of accepting his assingment to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Bird has been playing in the Dominican Winter League at the moment, preparing for next season. However, the Yankees made the move to designate him for assignment along with the release of Jacoby Ellsbury in a move that freed a couple spots on the 40-man roster to keep prospects.
For the Yankees, it's most likely hard to see Bird go despite his lack of production over his career. He was a top prospect at one point, with a bright future as the Yankees' franchise first baseman ahead of him in many eyes. However, injuries hindered his time on the field, and ultimately his spot on the team.
His most recent injury came just 10 games into the 2019 season, suffering a left plantar fascia tear that required season-ending surgery. Before the Yankees started their postseason run to the ALCS, Bird was rehabbing down in Tampa, where he admitted how frustrating it was that he couldn't be there with the team.
"It's just a long process. Frustrating," he said.
It's unknown who may pick up Bird on the free agent market now, and if he'll immediately get a shot in the Bigs. He should, however, get a Spring Training invite based off his glimpses of solid production in the past.
Bird began his Yankees career in 2015, where he slashed .261/.343/.529 with 11 homers and 31 RBI through 46 games. That gave the front office and the team as a whole hope that he would pan out into something special.
From there, though, Bird couldn't stay on the field, playing in a total 140 games over the past two seasons while missing the entire 2016 season as well. In the end, he slashed .211/.301/.424 with 32 homers and 98 RBI.