4:10pm: Texas has announced the deal.
2:26pm: The Rangers have agreed to a minor league contract with free-agent first baseman Greg Bird, per George A. King III of the New York Post (Twitter link). He’ll be in Major League camp as a non-roster invitee this spring.
Now 27 years old, Bird once looked to be a possible long-term answer for the Yankees at first base. His debut in 2015 produced a .261/.343/.529 slash and 11 homers in 178 plate appearances for the then-22-year-old, but his career has been ravaged by injuries since that time. Since that scintillating debut, Bird has suffered a torn labrum, undergone ankle surgery and missed significant time due to a tear in his plantar fascia. As a result, over the past four seasons, he’s been limited to a .194/.287/.388 slash in just 522 plate appearances.
That said, the Rangers’ own first base situation is hardly inspiring. They have a former top prospect of their own, Ronald Guzman, who has yet to deliver on his own potential. Joey Gallo has experience at the position but is being entrusted with outfield duties for the foreseeable future. Non-roster players like Sam Travis and Matt Duffy could also factor into the mix, as could infielder/outfielder Danny Santana, depending on what (if any) additional outfield moves the Rangers make between now and Opening Day.
Despite his lack of time on the field, Bird has racked up more than four years of Major League service time — much of it coming on the injured list. If he’s able to crack the Rangers’ roster and prove to be a serviceable option in 2020, he’d remain controllable through the 2021 season as an arbitration-eligible player.