A colleague asked me today if the Yankees should sign Mark Teixeira. My answer: “I dunno. He wants $20 million a year for something like 8 years or more. That’s alotta money and seasons.”
“Exactly” answered the colleague. He continued with “If you’re going to make $20 million or more a year, then you better be the best in the game at your position. Is Teixeira the best first baseman in baseball?”
Quickly, I answered “Not as long as some guy named Albert Pujols is around.” To that, my colleague added “I’m not even sure that Teixeira gives you more than Ryan Howard too.”
Now, I know that defense counts, and Teixeira has Howard beat there. But, what about Kevin Youkilis and/or Lance Berkman? Is Teixeira a better player than them? Tough call. How about Justin Morneau or Adrian Gonzalez? Yeah, he’s probably better than those two – but by much?
This got me thinking back to Manny Ramirez. I’ve always said that when Manny came to the plate, against the Yankees, my first reaction was always “Oh, crap!” He’s that kind of hitter. When he comes to bat, first you say it and then you do it. Same thing as when you’re going into a Blue Jays series and you see that Roy Halladay is going to be pitching one of those games. Your reaction? “Sh*t!” First you say it and then you do it.
The more I thought about this, the more I could not say that Mark Teixeira is a “First you say it, then you do it” player. I respect his tools and game. But, when he faced the Yankees, I never thought, in any At Bat, that he could wreck a game like someone such as David Ortiz or Manny Ramirez. (Or, even Jim Thome in his prime.)
And, now, I’m thinking “Do you really want to spend $20 million a season, for several years, on a player who’s not a ‘First you say it, then you do it’ player”? If you put a gun to my head, at this moment, and requested an immediate answer, I’m probably going to say “No.”
Maybe I’ll feel differently tomorrow. But, then again, maybe not…