BOSTON – Brian Cashman called Greg Bird’s season a “head-scratcher” but said the first baseman will have a chance to rebound next season.
In other words, the final chapter of Bird's Yankees career hasn't been written.
Bird, 25, considered a top prospect in the organization before a series of injuries derailed his career, recorded a .199/.286/.386 slash line in 2018. He had only 14 at-bats in seven games in September and was left off the wild-card and ALDS rosters.
“Bird’s ceiling is still what his ceiling was,” Cashman said Friday, speaking before ALDS Game 1. “The great thing about our game is he’ll go home and he’ll have a chance to regain all the accolades that were coming his way with performance, and that can start obviously next spring.”
Just as obvious is that Luke Voit is all but certain to go into spring training as the favorite to keep that job. Voit, 27, acquired from the Cardinals before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, put a stranglehold on the first-base job after getting a chance in late August. Voit batted .333 with a 1.095 OPS and 14 home runs in 132 at-bats for the Yankees, hitting seven of those homers in his last 11 games.
The righthanded-hitting Voit got off to a good start in the postseason, hitting a two-run triple and scoring on a sacrifice fly in the wild-card victory over the A’s and collecting two hits and two RBIs in Friday night’s Game 1 loss to the Red Sox.
“He was someone that was on our radar, our analytics crew had noticed him early on, and in a lot of our meetings last year, he was someone that we coveted from St. Louis and we finally matched up,” Cashman said. “He’s certainly exceeded my expectations. He’s batting close to the middle of the lineup in the postseason, that’s pretty impressive stuff. And he’s certainly taken advantage of his opportunity of playing here and I’m thankful for it.”