Ex-Yank Bird brings power potential to Texas

February 4th, 2020

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers and first baseman have agreed to a Minor League deal with an invite to big league Spring Training, the club announced Tuesday.

Bird, a left-handed hitter with power, has a history of injuries. He was limited to 10 games last season because of a plantar fascia tear in his left foot. He refused an outright assignment at the end of last season and became a free agent.

The 27-year-old recently held a workout in Tampa, Fla. The Rangers had scouts there, and the reports were that he looked good. Bird is healthy going into Spring Training, but Texas knows his medical history, so he'll need to show the club that he can stay healthy before he is considered a viable option.

The Rangers have Ronald Guzmán, another left-handed hitter, as their first baseman going into camp. But the signing of Bird is further indication that Guzmán still must secure his job.

Bird was a fifth-round Draft pick in 2011 by the Yankees out of Aurora Grandview (Colorado) High School, and he had a strong debut in 2015. He played in 46 games as a rookie and hit .261 with 11 home runs, 31 RBIs and a .529 slugging percentage. But he has been on the injured list in each of the past four seasons, and in three of those, he ended up on the 60-day list.

Over 186 career games and 611 at-bats, Bird has hit .211 with 32 home runs, 98 RBIs and a .424 slugging percentage. Guzmán played in 87 games for the Rangers last season, hitting .219 with 10 home runs, 36 RBIs and a .414 slugging percentage. He hit .134 against left-handed pitching with a .299 slugging percentage, which is why Texas has considered the possibility of a right-handed platoon partner.

Sam Travis, who was acquired from the Red Sox earlier this offseason, is one possibility. The Rangers could also use infielders Nick Solak and/or Isiah Kiner-Falefa at third base and move Todd Frazier to first against left-handed pitching.

Bird is the 27th player signed by the Rangers to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. They now have 67 players coming to camp.