Monday, December 15, 2008

Yankees need Mark Teixeira

We've seen the Yankees involved in a lot this offseason, from CC Sabathia to AJ Burnett to Mike Cameron.  Just a few days after bringing left-handed work horse CC Sabathia and dominate righty AJ Burnett on board, rumors have been floating around about the Yankees possibly getting involved in the Mark Teixeira bidding. 

I've though about it long and hard, and there are several reasons why the Yankees should go all out to sign Mark Teixeira.

He's the all-around package. 
The Yankees haven't had an all-around first basemen since the days of Tino Martinez. Several players have been thrown out there, but none can come close to the likes of Teix. From Miguel Cairo, to Doug Mientkiewicz and all the way back around to Jason Giambi. All of those guys lack at least one of the major 5-tools (Or in Cairo's case, all of them). Mark Teixeira is an all-around player and would fill just about all of the remaining holes the Yankees have.

The line-up lacks a Big-Bopper to protect Alex Rodriguez. The Yanks will most likely open the new stadium without Bobby Abreu and Giambi to bat in front of a behind Rodriguez respectively. While the Yankees have newly-acquired Nick Swisher penciled in at first, he provided the flexability to play more than just one position. Swish played 97 games in the outfield last year, mainly centerfield (the other hole in the Yankees offense), as opposed to 71 at first. Over the course of his career, Swisher has only played first more then the outfield in one season, his 2006 season in Oakland.  If the Yankees were to sign Teixeira, he would provide the 30 homerun, 100 RBI bat to play behind Alex Rodriguez as well as allow the Yankees to move Swisher into centerfield.  

Another added bonus is Mark is only 28-years of age. It is not often that players with this much success at the major league level hit the market at this young of an age. After this season, Xavier Nady, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui will all be eligible for free agency, meaning only Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Swish, and Jorge Posada are locks to be starting somewhere in 2010. The Yankees will need the fill the production lost by Matsui, Damon, Nady along with Giambi and Abreu from somewhere. Looking at the list of next years free agents, Matt Holliday is the only big name bat that may be out there, and I am sure he will have his choice of suitors. You could eliminate the headache now by getting that young, big bat this year.

There is also the defensive issue. Coming into 2009, the Yankees look like an average defensive team at best.  Teixeira is a Gold Glove caliber first basemen. While moving Swisher to the outfield would slightly knock the defense, adding this type of glove at first would greatly change the dynamic of the infield.  Teix is the type of player that can make average defenders look like wizards in the field. He could save 10-15 bad throws a year at the bare minimum as opposed to if the Yankees let Swish man first everyday.  Pitching and defense win championships, we've been hearing that for years. The Yankees have done their best to address the pitching part this winter, but the defense leaves much to be desired. 

And then there is the argument about salary. Mark Teixeira is represented by super-agent Scott Boras, add that to his pure talent and Mark's contract is likely to be in the range of at least 8-years, $165 million dollars. The Yankees dropped $88 million dollars in contracts this offseason, so while on paper it looks like they are spending like crazy, that is untrue.  Sabathia will earn a annual salary of $23 million next year, combined with the $16.5 million Burnett will make, combining for $39.5 going to the 2 new pitchers next year. Lets pencil Andy Pettitte to return for tops $12 million, thats only $51.5 million committed, leaving $37 million to come off the books (this is assuming the Melky/Cameron deal wouldn't happen because Swish would then play center). After this year, the Yankees will drop $14 million from Damon and $14 million from Matsui. Add that to $12 million from Pettitte and an additional $6 million from Nady. If the Yankees were to pay Teixeira a salary of about $22 million, thats $15 million from this offseason added to $46 million chopped off the payroll, even with the addition of Teixeira.

Without Teix, the Yankees will face the possibility of at least 2 holes to fill next offseason. With Teix, the Yankees will need to possibly fill only one hold, that being left field.

Let's face it, the Yankees haven't had an all-around first basemen since Tino Martinez, not coincidently the last time the Yankees won a World Series. If the Yankees sign Mark Teixeira, even with the massive contract, they will be a all around better team;

Projected line-up with Mark Teixeira:

LF Damon
SS Jeter
3B Rodriguez
1B Teixeira
DH Matsui
RF Nady
C Posada
2B Cano
CF Swisher

Added with the projected rotation of Sabathia/Burnett/Wang/Pettitte/Chamberlain, the Yankees would be easily the best team on paper, and have the best chance to reach the World Series they have in a long time. 

One way or another, no matter what way you look at it, Mark Teixeira would look great in pinstripes.

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