LADY AT THE BAT: The 2014 Yankees: Teixeira Is Just One Question "Mark" In The Infield

Friday, January 10, 2014

The 2014 Yankees: Teixeira Is Just One Question "Mark" In The Infield

What is Mark Teixeira going to do for the Yankees in 2014?  I realize that the Yankees 2014 infield, as currently projected, has enough question marks at 2B, SS and 3B without even considering 1B but I’m doing it anyway.  The first baseman will turn 34 early in the 2014 season, is coming off season ending wrist surgery and, for a player whose main assets are his power and his defense, a little concern is warranted.
To be honest, even before he was injured, some of Teixeira’s numbers were trending downward:

Year AVG OBP SLG WAR HR
2009 .292 .383 .565 4.9 43
2010 .256 .365 .481 3.2 36
2011 .248 .341 .494 4.0 26
2012 .251 .332 .475 2.7 27

Sourced From Baseball Prospectus

I understand that there’s more to a players offensive production than his batting average.  Nevertheless I love a healthy batting average.  When those stats flash on the screen and it’s a .290 or .300 BA, I nod approvingly.  For better or for worse, it’s part of how I evaluate a player.
So, when I see Teixeira’s averages, I cringe and wonder if that’s really what $22.5MM per season buys you these days.  Still, the power numbers are there.  He has a healthy slugging percentage, close to 30 HRs per year and, as his WAR indicates, he’s clearly still a valuable player.  Even more so when you consider his defense.  He sparkles over there and it’s a pleasure to watch.
He’ll likely never duplicate his fantastic inaugural Yankee 2009 season and it would be unfair to expect such a thing.  I’m content hoping for a repeat of 2010 while settling for 2011.  That’s what I was hoping for in 2013.
Then Teixeira tore a tendon sheath in his wrist, tried to rehab it, ultimately had surgery and was lost for the 2013 season which takes us back to the initial question.  What is Mark Teixeira going to do for the Yankees in 2014?  Can he still generate enough power to get to 30 HRs?  Is he more prone to injury now?  Will he be comfortable diving for balls over at 1B?  There’s only one way to know for sure.  Grab your glove Tex.  Spring Training is fast approaching.

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