Kansas City Royals: Greg Bird is a non-tender candidate worth pursuing

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Kansas City Royals need some more big-league bats. One unexpected place to find them could be a non-tender candidate like Greg Bird.

Recently, MLB.com ran a story listing possible non-tender candidates around the league. The name that got all the attention was Jackie Bradley, Jr. centerfielder for the Boston Red Sox. While I consider it highly unlikely that Bradley is ultimately non-tendered, there was a name on that list I believe the Kansas City Royals should keep a close watch on. And that is the name of Yankee’s first baseman Greg Bird.

Greg Bird has, thus far, found it impossible to stay healthy since his rookie debut in 2015. He made it through a grand total of 10 games this season. Over his 4 seasons, he has averaged less than 47 games. And that does not even include the 2016 season, which he missed entirely. The rumblings would suggest that the Yankees are done waiting for him to get and stay healthy.

His career .725 OPS is not sensational. He has never hit more than 11 home runs in a season. And he really struggled to hit the ball in injury-shortened seasons in both 2017 and 2018. But he has played hurt and he has worked his way back from each of his many injuries.

Bird is also only 26 years old. He was also deemed “by far the best hitter” in the organization by Brian Cashman just a few years back. A Yankees minor league organization that, at the time, included Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez.

The left-handed Bird shot through the minor leagues as a teenager and, before reaching the majors, never had an On Base Percentage lower than .350. His impressive debut in 2015 was at the ripe old age of 22. The young man has talent.

Unfortunately, at the moment, the Kansas City Royals are not sitting on a vast reservoir of untapped minor league infielders with hitting talent. Assuming a free agent first baseman is not signed, the Royals are going into next season with some combination of Ryan McBroom and Ryan O’Hearn playing first base. And the duo of Ryan and Ryan may work. Frankly, I do not even hate that plan. It is reasonable to believe that one of those guys breaks out for a good season. Maybe even a good career.

But while both McBroom (mostly in the minors) and O’Hearn have shown flashes of becoming above-average hitters in this league, I do not see the downside in adding a Greg Bird to that list as well. He is probably more likely than any of our major league ready first basemen for a breakout season in 2020.

Next. Jackie Bradley Jr. ideal candidate for centerfield. dark

If Greg Bird is non-tendered by the Yankees, the Royals should do their best to ensure that they are the team that brings him in for a second chance. If the Royals remain determined to not spend big money on free agent bats for next season, these are the kinds of options we need to explore and cash in on.