The Yankees made a significant splash inking a deal with Mark Teixeira earlier today. They don’t really have a Lars Anderson in the minors as the Red Sox do, so if they have the money, which they do, then signing Tex was a good move. But why wouldn’t it be a good move? Teixeira, although a first baseman, is a great defender. Teixeira, as far as I know, doesn’t have any kind of personality issues, and should be a solid addition within the clubhouse. And if we don’t know already, Tex has a very good bat. Very good. Super good the past few seasons, posting OPS+’s greater than 150 in each season (splitting time in both the AL and NL in each year).
The Yankees had, not necessarily a “hole,” as they could have gone with a below average center fielder (Melky, and most likely Gardner) and played Swisher at first. But this is a much better option than that. Now Swisher can be a great asset moving around the field wherever needed, or he could play right, or even center if they choose to go that way. They have options, something that is a luxury. And let us not forget about the 3-4 spots with Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira slotted in, most likely the best 3-4 in the game. Trust me, this should be the closest thing to Manny/Ortiz since, well, Manny/Ortiz. And while they may not QUITE match them offensively, they add value on the defensive side of the ball. I don’t know that they will be as good as Manny/Ortiz, but they should be pretty close, especially total package. In 2003, Ortiz was 27 and Manny was 31. Next year, AROD will start the year age 33. Tex will be 29 in April. So these next few seasons should be just about as great as any other years for AROD and Teixeira, excluding maybe Rodriguez’s 2007. Since David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were the greatest 3-4 that I have ever seen, then I am not going to anoint this new tandem to that status just yet, but they should be great anyway.
As for the Red Sox? The Rays? Ask David Price and Clay Buchholz the answer. Those two pitchers, and how they perform matter a lot as far as 2009 goes. I believe in the Red Sox commitment to player development, and I don’t mind them not making this move (See blog on Lars Anderson). The Rays obviously did not have the money, and will be good with what their farm has produced. Both will be serious contenders for a playoff spot next season, along with the Yankees. Unfortunately, they all play in the same division, and only two will be able to qualify for postseason play.
I have to say that the Yankees making Tex their own was very surprising. Right before the news went down, I saw an ESPN headline which said, “Developing Story: Nationals and Red Sox most likely destination for Teixeira.” Then, not too many minutes went by and the Yankees swooped in and grabbed the hottest commodity on the market. They are a better team with him, if not the best, as much as it pains me to say it.
Theo, your move.
I have been hearing much about Mark Teixera as a notoriously “slow starter.” And the numbers back this theory up. So the Braves and others need not worry, he will begin hitting again.
Before today’s game, in which he homered, Tex was barely above average offensively. His OPS+ sat at 105, and that is well below his career tally of 129. Being the weaker part of one of the best 3-4 combos in baseball can only emphasize his “struggles.” Especially when the other half of that Dynamic Duo is batting .420 after the action that took place today. Teixera’s OPS in the month of April sits at .787, not horrendous, but not very good for a player of his caliber. Every other month, over the course of his career, he has an OPS of at least .876, which is nearly .100 points higher! And at the end of the year he has been simply ridiculous in his production posting a .952 OPS in August, and an astounding .989 OPS in September. For those of you who think that the games later in the year mean more (which they don’t), then Teixera is your guy. Aside from the playoff games of course, which do mean more, but Teixera has never been that far into a season, which isn’t exactly his fault. Blame the Texas Rangers’ front office for that.
But if the Braves let Teixera walk, which seems to be very likely, then there will be a heck of a hitter available (And a good defensive 1B too). I would be hesitant to lock him up for seven years or something obnoxious like that. But if a team could grab him for four years, then it would be a huge plus. Because anything beyond that is suspect, and unknown. Of course even the first four years are “unkown,” technically speaking.