A.J. Burnett is gone. Nick Swisher is gone. A-Rod is basically gone even if he isn’t financially gone. Mark Teixeira is still here. So that makes Teixeira the default fall guy for the combination of his on-the-field and off-the-field antics.
Is it fair that Teixeira is the default fall guy? That depends who you ask. But I’m not asking anyone. I’m telling you he is. The sad thing is, he’s telling you he is too.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal ran an interview with Teixeira, in which he basically said everything I have been writing about for the last three seasons and everything every fan has openly yelled at him at the Stadium after one of his infamous pop-ups with runners in scoring position. He spoke like a guy who is still owed $90 million of guaranteed money over the next four years from the Yankees and with his teammate owed $114 million over the next five years and facing a second round of PED investigations, maybe Teixeira thought, “Nothing is going to happen to me no matter what I say.” And with no one really paying any attention to anything Yankees-related other than to a guy who might never play baseball again, opening up to Daniel Barbarisi and telling him everything that everyone is thinking, but no player would ever say must have seemed like a great idea.
But really why would Teixeira open up about how bad he has been since his first season in New York? Why would he tell everyone that he doesn’t care if they think he sucks or that’s he’s overpaid? Why would he admit that if he isn’t productive it won’t bother him? Honestly, I have no idea. But it’s a never a good thing when your first baseman, who’s owed $22.5 million a year through 2016 is basically telling Yankee fans that production, and therefore winning, aren’t exactly his priorities anymore.
With Mark Teixeira opening up about his career is in decline and how he doesn’t deserve the money he is making, I had to take a better look at his quotes and try to make sense of it all.
“I looked at the first six or seven years of my career, I was in my 20s, it was easy. I wasn’t searching for the right formula. To think that I’m going to get remarkably better, as I get older and breaking down a little bit more, it’s not going to happen.”
Mark Teixeira isn’t going to get better at baseball. He’s not even going to try to return to the player he was in 2009. If he has to be Jason Giambi Part II for the next four years with the Yankees, that’s OK with him.
“Maybe I’m slowing down a tick. Look, I’m not going to play forever. Eventually you start, I don’t want to say declining, but it gets harder and harder to put up 30 [homers] and 100 [RBI].”
You don’t want to say declining? Here are some of your numbers starting with 2009 and ending with 2012.
Hits: 178, 154, 146, 113
Doubles: 43, 36, 26, 27
HR: 39, 33, 39, 24
RBI: 122, 108, 111, 84
AVG: .292, .256, .248, .251
OBP: .383, .365, .341, .332
SLG: .565, .481, .494, .475
Since you don’t want to say you’re declining. I will say it for you. You’re declining! (Don’t tell Rob Neyer this because he will chalk it up as just three consecutive years of “bad luck.”)
How about Teixeira casually slipping in that little bit about “breaking down a little bit more” before saying without a doubt he will never be 2009 Mark Teixeira again? Nothing to see here about a significant piece of the Yankees offense foreshadowing that he might not be playing full seasons anymore.
“This is my 11th year. I’m not going to play 10 more years. I want 5 or 6 good ones. So that would say I’m on the backside of my career. And instead of trying to do things differently on the backside of my career, why not focus on the things I do well, and try to be very good at that?”
You think you do three things well? I would argue you do one, maybe two things well. But instead of trying “to do things differently” or improve the things you don’t do well, which are way more than three, just stick to being OK at some things and really bad at other things like hitting in April and hitting the other way and hitting with runners in scoring position since those things aren’t that important. For only $15,432.10 per inning I wouldn’t be willing to try things differently either.
“I have no problem with anybody in New York, any fan, saying you’re overpaid. Because I am. We all are.”
Well, thanks for clearing that up Mark. I thought guys who hit .251/.332/.475 and made $22.5 million were being accurately compensated. Now that you have told me they aren’t I will no longer think that. Thank you for clearing that up.
“Agents are probably going to hate me for saying it. You’re not very valuable when you’re making $20 million. When you’re Mike Trout, making the minimum, you are crazy valuable. My first six years, before I was a free agent, I was very valuable. But there’s nothing you can do that can justify a $20 million contract.”
Casey Close probably had to be hooked up to a respirator after reading that line from his client and even though it’s the most truthful sentence ever said by any baseball player, you don’t want to hear your $180-million first baseman saying he can’t justify his contract.
“You can’t make everybody happy no matter what. I need to concentrate on what I do well. And what I do well is hitting home runs, driving in a lot of runs, and playing great defense.”
No, you can’t make everybody happy, but you could try to make at least some people happy.
Mark Teixeira does hit home runs even if 2012 was the lowest home run total of his career (24). He does drive in a lot of runs even if 2012 match the lowest RBI total of his career (84). He does play great defense even if he forgot how to play it in the postseason.
“I want to be the player who hits home runs, drives in runs. I’d love to get back to the player that I’ve always been, but if I hit .250, .260, instead of .280, so be it.”
Translation: I want to be great and try to earn my $22.5 million per year and $138,888.89 per game. I want to hit home runs and drive in runs and be the guy the Yankees signed to an eight-year deal in 2008, but my $180 million is guaranteed whether I hit .250 or .260 instead of .280, so eff it.