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Monday, November 23, 2015

Greg Bird: is he being sent to the minors in 2016 so the Yankees can limit his free agency and salary arbitration eligibility?

Mark Teixeira was the best hitter (OPS .906) on the Yankees in 2015.  However, Teixeira broke his leg and stopped playing in mid August.  To replace Teixeira at first base the Yankees called up AAA prospect Greg Bird even though Bird had only 150 AAA plate appearances (PA): OPS .853.  After being called up, in 178 Yankee PA: OPS .871 and 11 homers in 157 at bats (AB).  Bird fielded well but not nearly as well as Teixeira.  But both Yankee management and Yankee fans were very pleased with Bird and see him as the likely Yankee first baseman of the future.

Teixeira: born: April 11, 1980 in Annapolis, MD

Bird: born: November 9, 1992 in Aurora, Colorado

Bird is 12.5 years younger than Teixeira.  There's also this:

Bird: is paid the minimum, probably about half a million dollars prorated for his time on the Yankees, which began Aug. 13, 2015. Teixeira: will be paid $23,125,000 in 2016 at age 36, then become a free agent.

Many Yankee fans are ready to move on.  Teixeira played only 15 games in 2013 and was hampered by injuries in 2014 and did not hit well: OPS .711.  The fans attitude is: back up the moving van for Teixeira and play Bird at first base in 2016.

Easier said than done.  Teixeira has a no trade clause and no team will take Teixeira without the Yankees paying most of his $23 million, which would be moronic.  Still rumors persist.

Mark Teixeira deserves more respect from Yankee fans. Saturday, November 21, 2015

Instead of hoping to dump him, Yankee fans should consider where Mark Teixeira fits among Yankee first basemen.

Photo of Gregory Bird
Yankee general manager Brian Cashman has been adamant in multiple interviews after the 2015 season:
- Bird will NOT be tried at other positions (RF, 3B)
- Bird will start the 2016 season in the minors.

I've been wondering if Cashman's insistence that Bird start in AAA in 2016 is to save a year on arbitration eligibility and when Bird can become a free agent.  I asked a knowledgeable source and got this response:

If Bird begins the year in AAA and remains there for at least 2 weeks, then NYY could delay his eligibility for FA (free agency) for one additional year. In order to prevent Bird from getting early arbitration eligibility, they would need to keep him the in minors thru mid-June (most likely). The actual dates of Super-2 eligibility is not known until after the fact. There is a formula as to how the actual Super-2 cutoff date is calculated, but it takes into account when 1+ yr Major League players actually get called up.

I don't know anything about Super-2 but I'm guessing that Brian Cashman does.  The plan might be: wait for the inevitable physical breakdown of Teixeira, let insurance cover his salary for the remainder of 2016 and keep Bird in the minors long enough for the benefits mentioned above.

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