The Yankee community is buzzing about soon to be free-agent Mark Teixeira.
With a career batting average of .290, you may be thinking that this is a no brainer situation to gobble up the 28 year old from Anapolis, MD. And while the statistics rule in his favor, there are a few hesitations that must be addressed.
For the majority of his career, he has been exiled to Texas where surrounded by talented young studs, they were still unable to make post season dreams come to life. When he was finally sprung from his prison, he and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim could not make it past the Yankee arch-rival Boston Red Sox. Big wins in big games against the big enemy are going to be crucial to the idea of putting Tex in pinstripes.
Tex is one of many former Rangers doomed to post-season disapointment. Alfonso Soriano was moved to the Rangers and then the Cubs. He has tasted the post season, but hasn’t gone much further than that. A-Rod, as we are painfully aware, has not seen the World Series yet, and is widely considered one of the greatest ball players of today. Even Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan never reached the World Series after wearing the Ranger uniform. Although there is no defined curse for the Rangers, one must remember that baseball is a superstitious sport.
In the past five years he has produce no less than 30 home runs
a season (38, 43, 33, 30, 33) and during his time in LA has proven
himself to be able to perform in larger city markets.
In the two years since breaking free from his Texan prison, he has had a combined average of .307, a number befitting an ideal Steinbrenner free agent prospect.
Teixiera is a lifetime .305 hitter at Yankee Stadium (32-for-105), with five homers and 21 RBIs. Impressive numbers at Yankee Stadium, especially for a visiting player. Although, no one will ever play at the original Yankee Stadium again.
With a current salary of $12.5M it is no surprise that the Yankee Empire is calling for Brian Cashman and Hank Steinbrenner to whip out that checkbook and start drafting up a contract.
But be wary. There is more than meets the eye to this deal.
This whole scenario looks oddly familiar to the resigning debacle of Alex Rodriguez. Former Texas Ranger with little to no luck in the post season. Great solo talent with All Star individual accomplishments. Statistics that legends are made. Scott Boras client.
Boras is going to smell the blood in the water. Two New York teams as well as the Angels will be vying for the contract. If Mike Lowell does not come through his hip surgery well the Red Sox could easily make a play for Tex and keep Kevin Youkalis at third, although Texiera has also performed duties at third as well.
This paltry $12.5M current contract will be bloated to no less then $20M a year for a long term deal. After all, he’s only 28! Expect a demand for individual achievement based incentives and a no-trade clause to be worked in.
Boras has had his mits all over this kid from the start. Do not expect this deal to be solved quickly. Let us not forget that bad taste in the mouth of Yankee brass from the last big Boras deal, either.
If the Yankees want to go ahead with the deal, they may end up the better for it. But this could also lead to a potential Jason Giambi situation. Giambi came in on fire as a fan favorite big hitting first baseman. But since his signing, the Yanks have failed to win the World Series.
Call it the curse of the purse!
When the Yankees spend big money on big players, they yield little results.
The Yankees have four infield utility players foaming at the mouth for a shot at an everyday position. Give Wilson Betemit, Juan Miranda, Cody Ransom, and Shelly Duncan a chance to battle it out and there might not be a need for a big money bomber.
New York is ready for another World Championship. Is Mark Teixeira really the guy to make it happen?
Be still my beating heart!
Do my eyes deceive me or are Yankees fans actually insisting on pursuing Manny Ramirez this post season? Surely you jest! There are only about a MILLION reasons why this is a terrible idea.
Sure, he can play in big city markets with tons of pressure.
Yes, he is one of baseball’s all time greatest batters.
I’ll even give you that when he tries to play baseball, he actually isn’t all that bad.
But NOT in New York!
Manny is surely a talented player. I can agree with that. But he is not Yankee material. Besides, LA won’t let him slip away. There are very few markets he would be willing to go to and I think that he will want to stay in the NL where he will remain prosperous. Remember, Manny CHOSE to go to LA. He had a no trade clause that only he could lift. He has earned the right to be choosy with where he goes through his performance in Boston as a consistent hitter (though not much else).
He fits the Dodgers. They can, and will, continue to build around him.
Besides, according to Manny in an August 8 interview on the Dodgers website he WANTS to finish his career in LA. “I love it,” Ramirez said after one game with the Dodgers. “I feel at home already. Put the word on me — I want to stay here. The weather is nice, the stadium is beautiful.”
Big market, nice weather, Hollywood atmosphere, media attention, a storied historic baseball club, MannyMania, Joe Torre as his skipper, keep his hair, and stay Manny, being Manny. What more could the 37 year old want, money?
“I’ve already made $160 million,” he said. “I like it here. I’m looking for peace. I want to stay here. At the end of the season, if the Dodgers want me to end my career here, we’ll sit down and talk. Time will tell.”
“I want peace.”
If there were anything Manny could bring to the Bronx it would be a sense of fun. The Yankees need to bring more fun to the ballpark. Giambi’s mustache broke some of the tension of New York’s hot summer nights. Remember the night that A-Rod tried out the yellow glasses?
The Yankees need more of that.
But is bringing Manny in the only way to do this?
I hope not. The Yankees get paid top dollar, which is public knowledge, so they are required to produce produce produce. And in recent years they have failed to produce in the only way that the Steinbrenner’s, the guys who sign the paychecks, know how – post season victories.
These guys need to make the game fun again.
But why would the Yanks want to go after another outfielder anyway? Nady is perfect as an everyday player, and I’ve said it time and again that Damon and Abreu are in the top numbers for Yankee offense, consistently. Having that trio as a platooning OF/DH combo will remain deadly.
And how many aging no-trade clause players can the Yankees afford to carry around?
The plus side to utilizing those three for the corners and a back and forth of Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner at center field would provide the Yankees with enough depth to cover any unforeseen injuries as well as help two developing players a chance to make a mark and provide youthful enthusiasm.
One thing that is crucial to remember is the Yankees need for defense as much as offense. While Manny may be a consistent hitter, his only defensive consistency is in his inconsistency. Young and speedy cannon arms like Cabrera or Gardner will fill that need more than just another bat. Damon, Nady, and Abreu can supply the much needed swing that Manny could provide, and the Yanks would be forced to make unnecessary cuts if any other outfielders were added.
I don’t hate Manny Ramirez. I respect his talent. I respect what he can do in baseball. I respect how he makes the game fun for himself and those around him. I respect his total disrespect for the Boston Red Sox. I love Manny being Manny.
But I love Manny in another league, in another town, three time zones away.