2009 Offseason: Yankees get Teixeira


Well, in case you missed it, it is now official – Mark Teixeira will be a New York Yankee for the next eight years. Just when I was beginning to think it was possible for us to win. GM Brian Cashman played this one close to the vest, and swooped in to land their third major free agent prize in two weeks. The Red Sox were standing firm on their offer of 8 years, $168M, and New York trumped them with a $180M offer over the same term. Teixeira’s new deal comes with full no-trade protection.

In retrospect, we should have all seen this coming. The Yankees missed the playoffs altogether this year, they dropped about $80M from their payroll this offseason, they are opening a new stadium, the YES Network is booming, and Hank and Hal have just officially taken over; there is tremendous pressure to win NOW. With another year of aging and the departure of Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi, their lineup is weaker, plus first base was one of their gaping holes; and there is no reason for them to settle for Nick Swisher when a much better player is available. Since the money is there, why wouldn’t they sign the best free agents out there? They now outspend every other team by a record margin, even for them.

Should the Sox have tried to match New York’s offer? What’s an additional $12M when you’re talking about $168M anyway? In this particular case, because we’re talking about first base (relatively the easiest position to fill), I think fiscal discipline was the right response, even more so since Kevin Youkilis is developing into an All-Star player at the position. They needed him more than us, and were willing to pay more. It is now more critical than ever that both David Ortiz and Mike Lowell come back fully healthy for 2009.

2009 Projection: Mark Teixeira
.299/.396/.541 with 32 HR and 113 RBI in 567 AB

Very strong numbers, but not “oh no, we’re dead” numbers. Don’t get me wrong, they got a great player, one of the top first basemen in the game. But do keep in mind that his power numbers benefited from playing at the Ballpark in Arlington. It should also be pointed out that New York surrendered their first-round pick in signing three Type A free agents, and may never pick early in the draft ever again, at this rate.

They’re rebuilt their rotation, restocked the lineup, but still need to bolster their bullpen if Joba Chamberlain moves to a starting role. I fully expect them to trade Xavier Nady for relief help. With the way things are shaping up, the AL East is once again the most competitive division in baseball by far. I plan to run a quick projection for the top four teams for comparison. One thing is clear. It’s back on.

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