The Texas Rangers quest for a first baseman has continued, as they have signed yet another player to a minor league deal.
At this point, it is apparent that the Texas Rangers do not trust Ronald Guzman. The former top prospect is nominally their starting first baseman, but has not exactly lived up to his potential. After a rough sophomore campaign that saw Guzman produce a mediocre .219/.308/.414 batting line with ten homers and 20 doubles over his 295 plate appearances, one can understand why Texas may be looking to hedge their bets.
As such, on Tuesday, the Rangers inked another former prospect. Greg Bird, who once looked like the Yankees long term solution at first, has been signed to a minor league contract with an invite to the major league side of spring training.
Back in 2015, Bird seemed like a possible star in the making. The then 22 year old produced a solid .261/.343/.529 batting line, hitting 11 homers and nine doubles in just 178 plate appearances. However, since then, he has been ravaged by injuries, limiting his effectiveness when he has been able to find his way on the diamond. In his ensuing 522 plate appearances, Bird has hit at a horrendous .194/.287/.388 clip, with just 21 homers and 23 doubles.
Bird finds himself joining an expanding cast of characters looking to find playing time. In addition to the incumbent Guzman, the Rangers have also signed Sam Travis and Matt Duffy, either of which could end up at first. Texas also has Todd Frazier, Joey Gallo, and Danny Santana on the roster, any of which could get a look at the position.
While they have several intriguing options, one can understand why the Rangers would want to take a look at Bird. If healthy, he could be an intriguing option in the lineup, especially with two years of team control. With his solid minor league track record, and his success in 2015, Bird still holds a degree of attraction.
However, that is a significant if. Bird simply has not been the same player when he has been on the diamond, his power continuing to decrease as he gets further from that one glorious burst. There are still positives – Bird has a 10.5% walk rate over those 522 plate appearances – but a solid batting eye can only go so far.
Greg Bird is the type of lottery ticket that could pay off if he can return to health. For the Texas Rangers, he is another player added to their mix at first base.