Yesterday, before I drove home for Christmas, I was compelled to make a Teixiera post about where I thought he would land. For a good solid month now, I’ve assumed that the Yankees had no interest.
But for some reason I couldn’t count them out. When it comes to Boras, the Yankees like to keep things quiet. They don’t allow Boras to play games through the media (unlike the the Red Sox philosophy, which is to pretty much announce to the world every step of the negotiation – which actually isn’t always terrible in terms of the end result, by the way, but makes for a circus). Logically, I figured Tex was going to either the Red Sox or the Nats, but why hadn’t we heard more about it?
Maybe the Yankees were indeed lurking, like with Johnny Damon, another player the Yankees initially had no interest in.
Driving home, I turned on XM Home Plate and the radio hosts were in the middle of discussing Tex’s choice. He had made one, but I couldn’t figure out who based on what they were saying. They mentioned Steinbrenner. Had Tex really signed with the Yankees? Indeed he had. Despite all my recent grumblings about the Yankees not needing Teixiera, as well as my love of the Nick Swisher acquisition, I couldn’t help but be excited.
I still don’t think the Yankees need Tex. But let’s look at some pros:
– Teixiera is exactly the type of player the Yankees are trying to build with. He’s relatively young, plays great defense, hits for power, and has patience. Tex is in the exact age group where the Yanks need to get better (27-32), the exact time period where they neglected their farm system. The talent is coming, the Yankees just need to use their finances to fill the gaps. Which they are.
– There is never a safe bet when you’re offering a player a contract worth more than $150 million (or $100 for that matter) but Tex is a pretty safe play. Even if he’s not as good of a power hitter 8 years from now, odds are pretty good that he’ll still be a productive player. Say even with inflation he’s only worth $15 million a year by then but he’s being paid $23. That’s still a tax the Yankees can afford.
– Next year’s free agent class is weak. Matt Holliday is the only big name and there are still a lot of questions about if he’s a product of playing for the Rockies.
– Signing multiple big name free agents the same year lessens the impact on the draft. The Yanks lose a number 1 pick for Tex, a number 2 for Sabathia, and a number 3 for AJ Burnett. They still have a protected number 1 and protected number 2 from last year. The Yankees draft will not feel a significant impact from these signings.
– This isn’t doomsday for the Sox, but certainly losing out on Tex limits the ways they can improve the club this offseason. They still have Lars Anderson in the minors and they have a gigantic financial advantage over other teams so of course they’ll be fine.
(I normally hate drive time radio, but a Red Sox fan called in to say he didn’t care about Tex because if the Red Sox lose, they (the fans) are used to losing. The host asked him how old he is. He said 25. To which the host responded: so you’ve been following the Red Sox since the mid-90s. Haven’t they always been pretty good? You remember Nomar and Pedro don’t you? Didn’t they win two World Series? C’mon this isn’t the Pirates we’re talking about it.
Nice to see that someone got the memo that Red Sox fans can’t be the lovable losers anymore.)
There are also a few cons of bringing in Tex:
– The Yankees’ financial flexibility is obviously compromised, more so because of the years (8) than the AAV ($23 million).
– First base is a very easy position to fill. So, while yes it is true that Tex will likely be a good first baseman for the next 8 years, that’s not like being a good shortstop. And to justify being a first baseman, Tex has to hit and hit well.
– This could potentially put Nick Swisher in a role of “musical positions,” which is part of what hurt him in Chicago. I’m hoping he’s now the everyday right fielder – let Nady, Damon, and Matsui rotate between LF and DH. Maybe on days when Molina catches, have Damon move to CF.
So signing Tex isn’t the move of the century and the Yankees didn’t have to do it to compete next year. But when you look at it, it does make sense for them, even if it looks like they’re spending worse than ever (though do you realize they could bring back Pettitte and still have their payroll go down from last year?). Sure, Mike Lupica’s head will probably explode (put that under pro’s) but the Yankees cannot worry about how they are perceived. They do have a plan – just happens they were able to make Tex a part of it.