On Tuesday, the New York Yankees placed a player on the injured list, as they are wont to do. This time, the affected player is first baseman Greg Bird, who will miss action following a left plantar fascia tear. In a corresponding move, the Yankees shifted outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury to the 60-day injured list and selected the contract of first baseman Mike Ford from Triple-A:
Bird hadn’t performed well this season — he had a 51 OPS+ in 41 trips to the plate, which included 16 strikeouts — but he’s the latest in a rash of injuries for the Yankees. In addition to being the 12th member of the Bronx Bombers who is currently on the IL, he’s also the 13th to have spent any length of period on the IL this season. The Pittsburgh Pirates are the only other team in the majors with more than 10 IL stints so far.
In fact, the Yankees have already lost more than 200 days to injury, per Spotrac. Just four other squads have lost more than 150, while 18 have lost fewer than 100. That bunch includes the Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, and Tampa Bay Rays — the Yankees’ American League East foes — who have combined for 209 days lost … or a week more than the Yankees have on their own. Yikes.
Making matters worse for the Yankees is who they’ve lost. Four of their top five performers from last season’s club (using Wins Above Replacement) are out hurt. That doesn’t include starting third baseman Miguel Andujar, starting backstop Gary Sanchez, or setup man Dellin Betances. In short, the Yankees have been impacted by injuries in a way that no other team can claim.
Keep that in mind whenever the Yankees’ mediocre 6-9 start is mentioned. This isn’t what we expected, and it’s in large part because their roster looks nothing like it was supposed to.