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.