Friday, December 26, 2008

Mark Teixeira to the Yankees

Wow. After weeks of only hearing about the Red Sox, Orioles, Angels, and Nationals being involved in the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes, the Yankees ultimately landed the free agent slugger with an 8 year/$180 million contract. The contract is further proof that you can never count out the Yankees, who have now spent over $400 million bucks this off season on only five players.

This deal makes so much sense for the Yankees. For starters, the Yankees needed another potent bat in the middle of their lineup to drive in runs and come through in big situations. Teixeira fits the description perfectly; he's one of the best power hitters in baseball and has driven in over 100 runs in four straight seasons. Hitting 40+ homers with 140 RBIs should not be out of the question for Teixeira considering the vast talent in the Yankee lineup.

Also, Teixeira is only 28 years old. While age may be overrated at times, Teixeira is entering his prime right now and should have many good seasons ahead of him. It's good to see GM Brian Cashman shy away from signing older players, who are more prone to decline and injuries and instead focusing on younger players, who have room to improve and grow. Plus, the combination of Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira will be absolutely lethal. Have fun pitching to those two for the next eight years, American League pitching.

The most underrated factor in this signing is Teixeira's defense. Teixeira is considered to be one of the best defensive first basemen in baseball and he won a gold glove in both 2005 and 2006. The Yankees infield defense is shaky at best: Robinson Cano is prone to mental lapses, A-Rod has experienced defensive ups and downs in the past, and Derek Jeter's defensive skills (range!) have been declining for the past few seasons. Teixeira will stabilize the Yankees infield defense because he is a major upgrade over the horrific Jason Giambi, who was a very weak defensive first baseman.

This move makes the lineup scary. There is not one weak link in this lineup and IF everyone is healthy, this lineup could and should set records for both runs and home runs. By my count, every projected starter the Yankees have right now has hit at least 20 HR in at least one big league season. The Yankees have built a modern day murderer's row.

I'm not going to lie though, I am disappointed by this signing. On one hand, I am disappointed that Teixeira did not jump at the opportunity to sign with the Nationals and transform the baseball culture in Washington DC. With the Yankees, Teixeira will just be another big star on a team of big stars instead of being the man with the Nationals. However, there was no guarantee that the Nationals would or even could compete at this point, so I cannot blame Teixeira for going for the sure thing.

In 2009, the Yankees should be a sure thing. On paper, they have the best team in baseball, but they are playing in a awfully tough division. After doling out all of this money, the Yankees are sure to be the team to watch in 2009, but we will have to wait and see if the Yankees with Teixeira can surpass the Red Sox and Rays.

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