Wednesday, March 9, 2016


The last time Mark Teixeira was on the verge of becoming a free agent, he was one of the hottest commodities on the market and with good reason. Tex was great defensively, and still is, hit for power and average and was durable. He played in an average of 137 a season games through 2011 and played in over 150 games in six of his first 10 seasons. At the time it was a great signing for the Yankees.

Now, several years later, Tex says he wants to finish his career as a Yankee, but he has been hobbled by injuries and hasn't batted above .256 since 2009 (the shift hasn't helped). He has produced over 20 home runs in every season except for 2013, a season is which he only played 15 games, and over 30 home runs in all but three seasons of his career, not including 2013. His power numbers are still there and his OBP of .357 in 2015 was much improved from the previous several seasons.

But Tex isn't getting any younger. I am not a Tex hater. I love what he does at first base and love seeing him launch home runs from both sides of the plate. The injuries concern me for sure, but the freak broken bone last year, in my mind, doesn't count when it comes to considering him injury prone. As Forrest Gump said 'It Happens".

But what I can't see the Yankees doing following the 2016 season is signing Tex to a long term, big money deal. Victor Martinez received a four year, $68 million deal following his 35 year-old season with the Tigers and the Yankees signed Carlos Beltran to a three year, $45 million contract a few years back. That could be the kind of contract Tex hopes for with a productive and healthy 2016.

While he could still provide some good production and play some good defense, he just won't have much of a spot with the Yankees next season. Greg Bird proved he was Major League ready last August and September (and made the right decision to get his shoulder fixed this season rather than waiting) plus the Yankees have a 40-something year-old Alex Rodriguez signed through next season who can only really be utilized as a DH.

If Tex has an awful down year and he could be gotten on the cheap, maybe a one-year $7-8 million deal for example, that would have to be considered by the Yankees. Either way, Tex and his agent are more than likely going to want a Martinez or Beltran type deal assuring one more nice pay day for him.

One little side note, Tex has 396 career home runs, leaving him just 104 shy of 500. I'd bet he has that in the back of his mind thinking that if he has four or five more years, he could reach that milestone.

I really do like Mark Teixeira. I would not mind him staying in pinstripes for a couple more years but there is just no room for him on the roster next season. They have their first baseman of the future and their DH, plus Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury who aren't getting any younger and may see some time at DH to get half days off as they get older.

Tex was not a bad Yankee. He was, in my opinion, a pretty good Yankee. He helped them to the 2009 World Series title and has always maintained a good attitude and provided good energy to the team.

But the time has come for the Yankees to move on, barring unforeseen circumstances.

 2017 will be the year of the Bird at first in the Bronx.


 --Dan Lucia
BYB Senior Writer
Twitter: @DManLucia

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