Bird gives the Rangers some depth at first base and a potential alternative, should the team decide to have Ronald Guzman start the year at AAA. Bird, 27, was a fifth round pick of the Yankees in 2011, and at one time was viewed as a promising hitter, having come up to the majors in August, 2015, and slashing .261/.343/.529 in 46 games that year in his first look at major league pitching.
Bird has been dogged by injuries ever since then, however. He missed all of 2016 due to a torn labrum, much of 2017 due foot surgery, much of 2018 due to ankle surgery, and most of 2019 due to a plantar fascia tear. When he was on the field, he didn’t hit much, slashing .194/.287/.388 in 522 plate appearances over 140 games.
Bird is a lefthanded hitter, and would be a better fit for Texas if he was righthanded, given that Guzman is also a lefty, and given the overall lefty-heavy orientation of the Rangers’ lineup. That being said, he’s worth taking a look at as someone who could hit if he stays healthy. If the Rangers wanted to give someone like Todd Frazier or Danny Santana or Nick Solak more starts at first base than they would get in a strict platoon, and wanted Guzman to get regular playing time in AAA rather than play just half of the time in the majors, Bird might be able to land on the roster.
One other item of note to file away — Bird does not have 5 years of service time yet, meaning that he cannot reject an optional assignment, and per Fangraphs, he has all 3 minor league options remaining. That means that the Rangers could theoretically put him on the 25 man (and 40 man) roster at some point, and have the flexibility to send him down without exposing him to waivers.