Trade rumor: Teixeira revisited


First baseman Mark Teixeira is set to hit the free agent market this winter and earn his big payday, which makes him potentially available at this year’s trading deadline. Evan Brunell over at Fire Brand of the American League would love for us to bring over Teixeira in return for Kevin Youkilis and, say, Michael Bowden. In response, Alex Remington at Braves blog Chop-n-Change says, take my first baseman – please. Some Braves fans it might be worth the Braves while to trade for Youkilis straight up. Wow, are they ever down on Big Tex, eh?

Is Teixeira that much of an upgrade?

Youkilis is having a great season at the plate, even outslugging Teixeira this season (.540 to .495). But make no mistake, Teixeira is a superior weapon at the plate. You should consider Tex’s .291 BABIP to Youk’s relatively lucky .352 BABIP this season. All you have to do is look at them stand side by side and you see the difference right away. Tex is a 6-3, 220 switch-hitter who has 40 HR potential (he’s averaged 34 HR per season), while the 6-1 Youk will never hit more than about 25 in a year (maybe this year, if we’re lucky).

Tex has a career 11.1% walk rate and 20.9% K rate, which Youkilis is at 12.7% walks and 20.7% Ks. So Youkilis has a very slight edge in OBP, which the Red Sox love. Tex is a more aggressive hitter, with a 42.46% swing rate, though he’s being more conservative the past two years (right around 40%). He is seeing about 3.95 P/PA, while Youk is seeing 3.89 P/PA this season. Youkilis has a slightly better contact rate, meaning he’s more of a .290-.300 hitter, while Teixeira will probably rest around .280-.290 for his career. But Tex bests Youk in career OPS by a .906 to .835 margin. They’re just not in the same league as far as power goes. Both are very good line drive hitters, with Youkilis hitting more fly balls.

Can we afford to lose Youkilis’ defense?

Defensively, Teixeira is a two-time Gold Glove winner in the AL, and he is actually deserving of those, unlike many recipients. Of course, Youkilis is no slouch with the leather, having won his first Gold Glove last year; he is probably a little more steady with the stretch. Teixeira gets a slight edge at first because of his athleticism and better range, but don’t forget that Youk can slide over and play third base pretty well, as he did earlier this year. That flexibility is a big plus.

Can Tex match Youk’s intensity and popularity?

Tex is more of a laid-back professional type, while Youkilis is a gritty ballplayer, a dirt dog. He’s thrived on playing heady baseball and disproving his critics. Together with Dustin Pedroia, he makes up a right side of the infield with serious chips on their shoulders.

The gory details

  • Youkilis is controlled by the Sox through 2010 (arbitration-eligible), when he can become a free agent at the age of 31. He stands to make about $15-20M total over the next two seasons. Teixeira is looking for his payday, and would cost about twice as much per season to keep around.
  • Though Teixeira has more Major League experience, Youk is actually one year older at 29.
  • Teixeira is a rugged player who rarely misses games (162 games played in 2005-2006, though he was injured part of last year); Youk has been bothered by minor scrapes and bruises throughout his career (high of 147 GP, which still isn’t bad) .
  • Youk is notorious for being a first-half player (.306/.400/.488 lifetime), while Teixeira is known as a slow starter (.278/.366/.513). Historically, Youk has run out of gas after the All-Star Break, while Teixeira is at his best late in the year.
  • Teixeira is a Baltimore native, and has indicated that he would like to play for the Orioles; but if they can’t pay him, I’m sure he’d be happy playing them 19 times a year.

Summary

Teixeira is represented by Scott Boras, so he WILL be paid top dollar or he’ll walk. That probably translates into him wanting an extension of 5-6 years at $18-20M/season. The Sox could afford it, but even they have to consider the cost before pulling the trigger on a deal like that. If they rent him, they only get two draft picks back, and you are left without a first baseman, so you only trade for him if you are reasonably confident you can extend him.

What would it cost? Losing Youkilis and most likely a starting pitcher, possibly Michael Bowden or Justin Masterson. Would they accept a lower-tier prospect, like a Major League-ready Charlie Zink or maybe Dustin Richardson?

Another minus, you lose flexibility in the payroll by signing a player like Tex. Though we don’t have any glaring needs, we will have to start paying our younger players soon. It would seem that the primary gain from replacing Youkilis with Teixeira is in the power department. If Manny Ramirez scuffles or David Ortiz doesn’t return to normal, you have to at least consider adding power somewhere. As tempting as a 3-4-5 of Ortiz, Ramirez and Tex sounds, I’m inclined to stand pat on this right now. Youkilis is a very good player on this team, and I can not imagine it without that lovable bald head.

This trade is not a necessity. Even without huge HR numbers this offense can score. The team who should be looking to acquire Tex is the Los Angeles Angels. Anyway, come talk to me again after Papi has been back for a week.

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6 Responses to Trade rumor: Teixeira revisited

  1. Pat says:

    Personally, I love the idea of getting Teixeira. Manny is losing his edge, and we could really use a power bat to replace him.

    The big negative is Youk’s more versatile. With Casey on the bench, we need Youk.

    I don’t see it happening, but I think Youk and Masterson would be a price I could stomach.

  2. redsoxtalk says:

    I’m not sure Youkilis is the guy to replace on this team… Tex is definitely the premium impending free agent, but there are other power sources who may be available and come cheaper:

    Adam Dunn, Carlos Delgado, Raul Ibanez, Hank Blalock, Tony Clark, Richie Sexson

    Not sure that I am too crazy about any of these guys, but you might be able to get one of them for a young arm (or less). Can any of them play shortstop?? :)

  3. Pat says:

    Can Tex play left field?

  4. redsoxtalk says:

    Is he capable of it? He’s athletic enough. I don’t know what his throwing arm is like. But Teixeira is considered an excellent first baseman, and he has enough cache that teams would be hesitant to ask him to move around at this point. I don’t know if he would be open to that kind of move or not.

  5. gh says:

    i think that trading youk and a prospect for tex would be a smart move for the sox. As for the comment about casey i am sure he will still get the same amount of playing time as tex like youk can also play 3rd base so lowell can have some days off and casey can play first. Our offense is not getting done and thats putting excess pressure on our pitchers. We have plenty of pitching and can afford to trade someone like bowden or masterson as we have lester, buch, bard , and masterson/bowden.

  6. Pingback: Braves extend an offer for Youkilis? « Red Sox Talk

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