Bird signed a minor-league contract with the Yankees on Tuesday, Sweeny Murti of Sports Radio 66 WFAN reports. Bird spent spring training with the Blue Jays before being cut Monday, producing a strong .958 OPS. The first baseman will now report to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and return to the Yankees organization after being let go in 2019. Bird will look to get another shot in the big leagues, having last appeared in MLB in 2019, when he played 10 games and batted just .171 over 35 at-bats.
Bird was released by the Blue Jays on Monday, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports. Reports from over the weekend indicated that Bird had given himself a good shot at making the team, an idea backed up by his .958 spring OPS. The team ultimately decided to go in a different direction, but it's possible his Grapefruit League performance will earn him an opportunity elsewhere.
Bird seems likely to make the Opening Day roster for the Blue Jays, Keegan Matheson of MLB.com reports. Toronto didn't have a clear backup to Vladimir Guerrero at first base coming into camp, but Bird's strong spring (.286/.423/.619 with two homers through 26 plate appearances) seems to have been enough to win him the job. The 29-year-old hasn't made a fantasy impact since his rookie season with the Yankees in 2015, last seeing time in the majors in 2019 and battling numerous injuries along the way, but Bird could get semi-regular playing time in a platoon with Alejandro Kirk at designated hitter against right-handed pitchers. The Jays also figure to use the DH spot to give other players a partial rest from their defensive duties.
Bird agreed Thursday with the Blue Jays on a minor-league contract, Keegan Matheson of MLB.com reports. Though he's appeared in just 10 MLB games since the 2019 season, Bird still retains some degree of cachet for baseball fans thanks to a big 2017 postseason for the Yankees in which he supplied a .938 OPS over 13 games. Since then, however, Bird's career has been derailed by a series of untimely injuries and a downturn in productivity on the occasions he's been available. Bird actually showed some durability in 2021 as a member of the Rockies organization, but he never earned a call-up to the majors after slashing .267/.362/.532 with 27 home runs and 91 RBI in 461 plate appearances at Triple-A Albuquerque. With Vladimir Guerrero entrenched as the Blue Jays' everyday first baseman and a number of quality designated-hitter options already on the roster, the change in organizations won't necessarily help Bird in his quest to resurface in the majors.
Bird was reassigned to minor-league camp Saturday. Bird was competing for a backup role at first base during spring training but was unable to secure a spot on the Opening Day roster after hitting .200 with one home run and four RBI in 19 Cactus League games. Josh Fuentes should serve as the primary backup behind C.J. Cron at first base, while Bird will likely begin the year at Triple-A Albuquerque.