• Commentary On Reported Mark Teixeira Deal

    Posted by on December 23rd, 2008 · Comments (25)

    When I look at this transaction, I see it as having three parts.

    The first part is the immediate on-the-field impact to the Yankees today and in the near future. Will having Mark Teixeira help the Yankees? Well, yeah…duh. With the bat, Teixeira replaces the three-hitter that the Yankees lost after 2008 (Bobby Abreu) and matches the offensive production that the Yankees have recently received from the now departed Jason Giambi. The latter got you puzzled? Check the numbers. From 2005 through 2008, Jason Giambi had 123 RCAA and Mark Teixeira had 173 RCAA over the same time span. However, during that time, Giambi had 6.17 RCAA/100 PA and Teixeira had 6.37 RCAA/100 PA. Basically, in terms of being a “force” they’re both about the same type of offensive player.

    And, of course, Teixeira is a Gold Glove defender.

    Actually, Mark Teixeira is a player somewhat like a Carlos Beltran, Lance Berkman, David Wright or even a J.D. Drew. O.K., he’s really better than Drew. But, while Teixeira is a sabermetric dream, he’s not a monster batter like a Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez, or Alex Rodriguez during one of his recent MVP seasons. And, that leads us to the second part of this deal – his compensation.

    The reported eight-year $180 million price tag that the Yankees paid for Teixeira is a bit crazy. I know what the Yankees are thinking here. Well, at least I can guess at it. They probably figure “We were paying Giambi $21 million a season. So, what’s the big deal if we pay Teixeira $22.5 million a year?” And, to many, that makes some sense. But, I think the goal should be to not pay anyone $20+ million a year – even if you can afford it. But, hey, I’m sure many Yankees fans couldn’t care less about the money – they just want good players and a team that wins.

    Lastly, we have that third part – the long-term future. Back on October 7, 2008, I took a look at Mark Teixeira to see if the stats suggested that he was a lock to keep producing, the way he is now, into his 30′s. But, the answer is not clear. How Mark Teixeira will “age” is anyone’s guess at this stage.

    My guess? I’m calling “Ken Singleton” on this one – since he and Teixeira are/were the same kind of hitters. That would mean that Mark Teixeira should be a solid offensive performer for the next five seasons – and then we’ll start to see a pretty good drop-off from him with the stick during 2014, 2015 and 2016. And, that’s where it’s going to get ugly – when he’s not going so well and making a ton of money. Add a (then) 38-year old Alex Rodriguez to the mix in 2014 and the Yankees will be paying two past-their-prime former All-Stars mucho denaro.

    But, then again, for all we know, A-Rod and Teixeira could be owning the Las Vegas Dan Tannas (formerly known as the Florida Marlins) by 2014 and would have already demanded their trade from the Yankees to their own team by then…and, that solves that problem for New York.

    Comments on Commentary On Reported Mark Teixeira Deal

    1. thenewguy
      December 23rd, 2008 | 9:29 pm

      That would mean that Mark Teixeira should be a solid offensive performer for the next five seasons – and then we’ll start to see a pretty good drop-off from him with the stick during 2014, 2015 and 2016. And, that’s where it’s going to get ugly – when he’s not going so well and making a ton of money.
      ———————-

      Then let me ask you this, Steve. As you mentioned, Giambi was still quite an offensive force this year and last. So, in that sense, Giambi ‘aged’ relatively well. I would argue this is because a) his power didn’t disappear and b) his batting eye didn’t disappear (making him still a valuable OBP guy.)

      Do you think that Teixeira’s strengths won’t age as well as Giambi? Since he doesn’t take as many walks, or hit as many homeruns, maybe his bat will decline faster? This isn’t my opinion (I don’t have one yet,) but I could see someone making this arguement that the Big G has a better skill set for ‘aging’ than Teix.

      I expect Teix’s glove probably wouldn’t decline too much, assuming its just age and not injuries that worsen Teix.

    2. December 23rd, 2008 | 9:31 pm

      FWIW, people say that walks and homers are the last skills to go…

    3. December 23rd, 2008 | 9:31 pm

      …and, that’s basically all Giambi had left last year.

    4. thenewguy
      December 23rd, 2008 | 9:38 pm

      FWIW, people say that walks and homers are the last skills to go…
      ———————-

      So does that mean that you think Teix will be worse than Giambi was this year (or last year) by the end of his contract? …. except of course for his defense.

    5. Scout
      December 23rd, 2008 | 9:50 pm

      On the three points:

      1. Teixeira makes the Yankees significantly better on the field than they were yesterday with Nick Swisher heading a cast of nobodies at first base. At this point, Tex is also a much better all-around player than Giambi. The line-up is a formidable one, not quite what it was four or five years ago but plenty solid.

      2. I do not know why $20 million is excessive. It is, in fact, just a number, and one that the team’s income stream can support. If the Yankees did not spend it, the money would not go back to the fans in the form of lower ticket prices. Those prices are driven by demand.

      3. I would be satisfied if Teixeira performs at a high level for five of the next seven years. I think the Yankees have signed several players to contracts that will reward them beyond their likely period of maximum productivity. If the team achieves the results we expect, the extra year or two given Tex, C.C., Burnett, and A-Rod will be justified. The long-run issue is that in five or six years the Yankees may be saddled with albatross contracts that total $60 million/year. But, again, the revenue stream should let them absorb that IF the minor league system finally starts to yield cost-controlled players.

    6. Janks-n-Jints
      December 23rd, 2008 | 9:51 pm

      “…and, that’s basically all Giambi had left last year.”
      —-

      No, that’s not true. He grew a phenomenal mustache. One that I will sorely miss.

      :(

    7. Raf
      December 23rd, 2008 | 10:02 pm

      LOL

    8. December 23rd, 2008 | 10:22 pm

      ~~So does that mean that you think Teix will be worse than Giambi was this year (or last year) by the end of his contract? …. except of course for his defense.~~

      Same. Maybe worse. If I had to guess, come 2014, Tex will be a zero to 20-something RCAA player – which is what Giambi has been the last two years. But, that’s just a guess.

    9. FourKings
      December 23rd, 2008 | 10:33 pm

      OK Steve,

      1. Why do you care what the Yankees pay players? We are all, literally, peons compared to the billionaires that are the Steinbrenners. What they spend their money on is their own problem – the case should not be what they spend on one player (e.g. no more than 20), but instead what dent a single player’s salary affects the overall team payroll.

      2. Give me a rationale why a team shouldn’t spend above 20 a year on one player… without saying it ‘destroys the game’.

      3. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, start using defensive statistics in your arguments. I read this blog all the time, yet I never hear any quotes on defense…

    10. jmeisner
      December 23rd, 2008 | 10:47 pm

      “1. Why do you care what the Yankees pay players? We are all, literally, peons compared to the billionaires that are the Steinbrenners. What they spend their money on is their own problem – the case should not be what they spend on one player (e.g. no more than 20), but instead what dent a single player’s salary affects the overall team payroll.”

      I don’t know why this even needs to be explained, but whatever. The Yankees are a business, and they’re obviously trying to run their business at a reasonable profit, which means that there is some limit to how much money they’re going to spend. Money spent in one way is money that is not spent in another way. So it’s not as if the misers in us are cringing at the thought of the Yankees simply spending money, it’s the fact that it ties up their payroll, preventing them from spending it in ways that we deem more appropriate. Therefore, it seems perfectly understandable for a fan to be angry at team management for overspending on a player.

    11. FourKings
      December 23rd, 2008 | 10:55 pm

      jmeisner:

      We are actually in agreement, to a large degree.

      The Yankees profit I feel is none of our business. They haven’t made money for a while, which, as a fan is great. And, that being, the organization’s profits are none of our business.

      All I meant is that “the fact that it ties up their payroll.” That should be (as a fan) our only concern. If Tex’s salary ties up potential funds that could benefit the team in other ways; THAT, is a negative. However, if the Yankees can spend a fadillion dollars to get what they want; why should we care how much they pay per player?

    12. Rambis35
      December 24th, 2008 | 12:09 am

      I would sign up for Ken Singleton-like production. Singleton produced 254 RCAA between the ages of 29 and 36. I ran a search for other comparable players from age 23-28 on my CBE, and here’s how it looks:

      CAREER
      MODERN (1900-)
      AGE <= 28
      OBA BETWEEN 107 AND 117 vs. the league average
      SLG BETWEEN 121 AND 131 vs. the league average
      OPS BETWEEN 115 AND 125 vs. the league average
      AVERAGE BETWEEN 102 AND 112 vs. the league average
      OWP BETWEEN .625 AND .675

      RCAA RCAA OBA SLG OPS AVG OWP
      1 Chipper Jones 255 115 124 120 112 .675
      2 Boog Powell 237 111 125 119 107 .661
      3 Gary Sheffield 230 116 122 119 108 .662
      T4 Greg Luzinski 218 110 127 119 108 .643
      T4 Bobby Bonds 218 108 124 117 105 .651
      6 Carlos Delgado 209 111 127 120 103 .669
      7 Mark Teixeira 199 112 126 120 107 .649
      8 Bobby Murcer 193 109 121 115 111 .666
      9 Tim Salmon 185 114 123 119 108 .666
      10 Kent Hrbek 183 112 122 118 111 .633
      11 Danny Tartabull 182 113 128 122 110 .669
      12 Billy Williams 177 110 125 118 111 .631
      13 Jack Clark 166 109 122 116 104 .629
      14 Mo Vaughn 155 114 126 120 110 .640

      Here’s how those same players fared from age 29-36

      Jones – 374 RCAA
      Powell – 99 RCAA
      Sheffield – 412 RCAA
      Luzinski – 71 RCAA
      Bonds – 97 RCAA
      Delgado – 286 RCAA
      Murcer – 64 RCAA
      Salmon – 139 RCAA
      Hrbek – 79 RCAA
      Tartabull – 77 RCAA
      Williams – 259 RCAA
      Clark – 219 RCAA
      Vaughn – 149 RCAA

      It’s an interesting mix, and I’ll probably take a closer look at it, but several comparable players maintained or exceeded their levels of production, and I feel Teixeira will as well. However, a few of those names scare me at least a little. I doubt Teixeira will fade as severely as some of the players above though, and would love to see him hit close to Chipper Jones- Carlos Delgado levels.

    13. Jake1
      December 24th, 2008 | 12:17 am

      We got no prime talent offensive players. We needed tex. plus we needed a great def player. That’s Tex. Plus we needed to replace Tino. Tex. We had a terrible offense in 2008. Needed Tex.

    14. Rambis35
      December 24th, 2008 | 12:27 am

      Not to be repetitive, but here’s a similar list, focusing only on their age 24-28 seasons. Reggie and Winfield sure are encouraging names to see on the list.

      CAREER
      MODERN (1900-)
      AGE BETWEEN 24 AND 28
      OBA BETWEEN 109 AND 119 vs. the league average
      SLG BETWEEN 123 AND 133 vs. the league average
      OPS BETWEEN 117 AND 127 vs. the league average
      AVERAGE BETWEEN 104 AND 114 vs. the league average

      RCAA RCAA OBA SLG OPS AVG
      1 Eddie Mathews 258 114 128 122 105
      2 Chipper Jones 247 117 127 123 114
      3 Larry Doby 222 114 129 122 109
      4 Carlos Delgado 219 113 131 123 105
      5 Mark Teixeira 203 114 128 122 109
      6 Tim Salmon 190 115 125 121 109
      7 Reggie Jackson 185 113 133 123 107
      T8 Greg Luzinski 183 114 132 124 108
      T8 Bobby Murcer 183 112 124 118 113
      10 Dave Winfield 175 110 123 117 109

    15. RollingWave
      December 24th, 2008 | 1:40 am

      And how are you basing the Singleton to Teixiera comp again?

      let’s see what baseball-reference and Bill James’ system says.

      For your information, this was the list of Kenny’s comparable at age 28

      959 Derek Bell
      958 Bob Skinner
      953 Willard Marshall
      949 Bob Watson
      948 Mel Hall
      946 Roberto Kelly
      946 Willie Crawford
      944 Ron Northey
      944 Mike Davis
      944 Jackie Jensen

      This is Mark Teixiera’s right now (age 28)

      Carlos Delgado (935)
      Kent Hrbek (925)
      Fred McGriff (913)
      Jim Thome (911)
      Will Clark (910)
      Jeff Bagwell (909)
      Willie McCovey (906) *
      Richie Sexson (904)
      Shawn Green (901)
      Paul Konerko (899)

      and this was Jason Giambi’s at age 28

      948 Richie Zisk
      947 Jim Edmonds
      937 Kal Daniels
      934 Aubrey Huff
      933 Brad Fullmer
      933 Adam LaRoche
      933 Bobby Higginson
      933 Bill Skowron

      Which list do you think has the better players? (Giambi actually ended up at the upper echolan of his list’s potential, Kenny was right in line, this sort of list is actually very very useful in projecting a player’s career given sufficent sample, for example, it’s highest comparable for Andruw Jones from age 21 to 27 was Ruben Sierra)

      Teixeira isn’t without risk, but in terms of talent level he’s up there with McCovey / Thome / McGriff / Bagwell / Delgado, in that if he has a very healthy career he’ll end up well north of 500 and a inner circle lock (ala McCovey) if he is relatively healthy he’ll probably reach 500 (since he’s at 200+ already at age 28 ) and be a solid case like Thome and maybe Delgado. if things doesn’t go too well he’ll still probably endup with a McGriff / Bagwell like numbers, which i’ll take as a bad case anyday of the century.

      comparaing anyone to A-rod / Pujols is just stupid, even you realize that these two are inner circle amoung inner circle HOFers, one is likely to end up in the top 3 if not top of the all time dinger’s list, the other will be either the greatest 1B ALL TIME or the greatest not named Gehrig. how do you compare anyone to them? both are once in 100 years type player, that’s like saying Manny isn’t Ruth or Bonds, no shit.

    16. December 24th, 2008 | 7:28 am

      ~~~And how are you basing the Singleton to Teixiera comp again?~~~

      My eyes.

      Both a switch hitters. Both are big and strong. Neither is very fast. Both hit for average, power, drive in runs, and are willing to take a walk.

      And, if you need to go by stats, they’re both, at their peak, around 50 RCAA per season players, IIRC.

    17. RollingWave
      December 24th, 2008 | 8:28 am

      Except that Singleton’s best seasons came AFTER age 28. which isn’t uncommon for power hitters?

    18. butchie22
      December 24th, 2008 | 8:56 am

      The Dan Tannas? Steve, you had to throw that old Ulrich/Curtis show out didn’t you? I was thinking more like the Las Vegas Gamblers(too controversial) or the Nevada desert Rose( too safe). The Fish might even move to North Carolina which is another up and coming market.

      We got no prime talent offensive players. We needed tex. plus we needed a great def player. That’s Tex. Plus we needed to replace Tino. Tex. We had a terrible offense in 2008. Needed Tex. Quote

      As much as I deplore the Yanks spending a gazillion dollars on payroll, they need Teix right now. Otherwise another season of middling defense and offense would have been a disaster sans Giambi and Abreu. Look is one player worth 22.5 a year? Not really, but the Yankees have a need and their gluttonous payroll came down and that itch needed to be scratched immediately. Though that shows Cash Man’s inability to draft young kids that are cheap and controllable like other teams with the most resources at his disposal.

    19. clintfsu813
      December 24th, 2008 | 9:11 am

      Let’s also not underestimate the value of a “good guy” in the clubhouse, as I understand Tex and Sabathia are. I think that chemistry can be very valuable in the coming seasons.

    20. MJ
      December 24th, 2008 | 10:36 am

      Though that shows Cash Man’s inability to draft young kids that are cheap and controllable like other teams with the most resources at his disposal.
      ————
      Not true. If you look at who the Yanks have been using their top picks on, it’s been pitchers. You could certainly argue that the Yanks haven’t developed many (or any) positional prospects over the past several years from later-round picks but it’s disingenuous to simply make the blanket statement that there is an INABILITY given that the past several drafts have been focused on pitching first. It’s ultimately a question of priority and I think the Yanks placed a greater priority on pitching. We’ll see if that changes in the coming years.

    21. Raf
      December 24th, 2008 | 10:45 am

      Let’s not confuse him with facts, now… ;)

      :)

      butchie, when was the last time that you took a look at the organizational depth chart?

    22. deadrody
      December 24th, 2008 | 1:09 pm

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      Therefore, it seems perfectly understandable for a fan to be angry at team management for overspending on a player.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Ok, so maybe someone can explain how offering Texeira (someone that fills a big need for the Yankees) 7% more than the Sox (a team without a need at any position) offered is overspending.

      Here’s a tip – it ain’t.

    23. butchie22
      December 24th, 2008 | 2:06 pm

      Not true. If you look at who the Yanks have been using their top picks on, it’s been pitchers. You could certainly argue that the Yanks haven’t developed many (or any) positional prospects over the past several years from later-round picks but it’s disingenuous to simply make the blanket statement that there is an INABILITY given that the past several drafts have been focused on pitching first. It’s ultimately a question of priority and I think the Yanks placed a greater priority on pitching. We’ll see if that changes in the coming years.Quote

      Cash man has drafted heavily on pitching if anything and that was his big mistake because they relied on the free agents signings of guys like Giambi, Damon, Abreu (a trade but same difference). And what happened last year? where was the next generation of Yankee position players to pick up the slack offensively? Duncan, Melky and Gardner were far from any offensive prowess in that department. Also where was the next Nick Johnson in the minors to take over first base, Tabata was supposed to be the greatest thing since sliced bread what happened to him? The problem I have with Cash Man is that his pitching signings like Pavano, Johnson, and Wright have shown that he has a bad eye for pitching.

      Raf, I don’t want to confuse you with one painful fact, talk about being painfully unaware of the GM’s general ineffectiveness: where were the kids to bail out the Yanks when the old farts bats died out? They had very weak offensive players trying to add energy BUT Gardner , Melky and Duncan fell asleep at the wheel. Cash Man over drafted on pitching because of that vaunted offense(which was supposed to do well) which went downhill last year. Also out of all the pitchers he has drafted since he took control who has been effective yet? Joba? Hughes hasn’t been yet neither has Kennedy, right? That’s nice if you look at the minors and see depth, but that is a potentiality if you will. Quite simply, I look at teams like Boston who have drafted both position players and pitching and don’t need to spend 425 mill to fill holes, whereas Cash Man needed to . The depth chart is useless if the prospects are a potentiality like how Hughes and Kennedy were to be the second coming….that worked out badly didn’t it? In essence. he exercised bad judgement on who impacts the team since he has taken control. Also I need to see these kids actually perform in the MLB. From my posts I am very bearish about a lot of newbie players even semi-successful ones, because the sample size is so small. Hughes and Kennedy were supposed to be the second coming and so far they have let Yankee Empire down.

      In essence, Cash Man has tons of money to pay over draft BUT I have yet to see a gaggle of youth effect the team like it has the Red Sox. The Red Sox seem to be introducing kids on the pitching front and on the position player front (they are emphasizing in-house solutions) that have impact the team whereas Cash Man needs to spend 425 mill because he made a bad call on the HUghes-Kennedy experiment and has no one to replace Giambi or have a productive centerfielder yet. Boston didn’t need Teix or Burnit in the end because they have drafted well enough(by their own estimation and by the results the last two years they won the World Series in 2007 and went to the playoffs unlike the Yankees) to not spend the obscene money that Cash Man has.

    24. Raf
      December 24th, 2008 | 4:59 pm

      GM’s general ineffectiveness: where were the kids to bail out the Yanks when the old farts bats died out?
      ——–
      What old bats died out? Posada? Do you think it’s easy to find catchers with Posada’s production? Jeter? Good luck breaking in another shortstop with Jeter there. If he didn’t move for Rodriguez, a superior shortstop in every facet of the game, he’s not going to move until he is ready.

      The oldest pitcher of the 3 is Kennedy, and he made the majors at 23. You are insane if you think the Yanks are going to give up on 3 young arms with the stuff that they have shown.

      Boston was right there with Teix, until they signed him. They got Schilling and Burnett from teams that were trying to get out from under their contracts.

      That you think the depth chart is useless, pretty much says everything we need to know. The Yanks had a bunch of money freed up this year. They will have a bunch of money freed up next year. They have money to spend, they have arms in the system. They are players in the Int’l free agent market, they are players in the draft, they are players in every facet there is of player acquisition. That is a FACT.

      The Red Sox have Youk and Lowell and Ortiz, and they were still in on Teix. Would you rather he signed there?

    25. Raf
      December 24th, 2008 | 5:33 pm

      The problem I have with Cash Man is that his pitching signings like Pavano, Johnson, and Wright have shown that he has a bad eye for pitching.
      ———–
      Johnson was a bad signing? How do you figure that?

      And why does he get dinged for that, but no credit for acquiring Chacon, Small, Lieber, Proctor, among others?

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