Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rosenthal: Signing Teixeira would help Yanks derail Red Sox

I, as well as many other Yankees fans have been saying for weeks that the Yankees should sign Mark Teixeira, Ken Rosenthal agrees:
The Yankees, in the opinion of one rival general manager, should be pursuing Teixeira as aggressively as they did left-hander CC Sabathia.

"Teixeira is the only great player the Red Sox are after," the GM says. "If the Yankees get Sabathia and Teixeira, the Red Sox can't counter that. There's nothing they can do."

As I wrote in my last column, the Yankees project that their 2009 payroll will be lower than it was last season even with the additions of Sabathia and free-agent righty A.J. Burnett. The signing of Teixeira almost certainly would push it higher. But why should a team that bid against itself for the best pitcher on the market suddenly turn passive with the best all-around player?

The Yankees needed pitching, they got pitching. It makes no sense for them to stop at the Red Sox's No. 1 target, a switch-hitter who could pair with Alex Rodriguez to form a devastating middle of the order for the better part of the next decade.

Like Rosenthal, it makes no sense to me for the Yankees to stop here, and when I read reports about how they might be ready to give Manny a three-year deal for $22-25 million per it makes me even more confused, and angry.

And if the reason they don't want to lock up the 28 year old Teixeira for eight years is because they want to keep first base open for when Jeter, Posada, or some other aging player down the road has to switch positions then they deserve to lose.

If the Yankees want to draw a line, they should draw it with paying Andy Pettitte $10 million to be their fifth starter or Mike Cameron $10 million to be their center fielder.

Not with Teixeira, for crying out loud.


pinstripes said...

I just don't know. I don't think that Teixeira is the big difference maker in the AL East pennant race, now or in the future. Sure, you can list all the good things about the guy, and no, I'd rather not see him on the Red Sox.

However, there are long-term issues here. Firstly, first base is an offensive-laden position. The Yankees focus in terms of position players should be CF, C, 2B, and SS. For the short term, SS and 2B seem to be taken care of. But CF is still a question, C will be a question soon enough, if not this season depending on Posada's arm, and we're going to need outfielders in 2010. We'll need at least 2, and maybe 3.

It's not really the money that concerns me, but an 8 year contract is exactly the thing the Yankees need to be careful of. You can't necessarily compare Teixeira and Giambi, but long term deals for players who've entered their prime already, and will be 37 years old when the deal is completed, are just long term no-nos. With A-Rod signed long term, Jeter no doubt sticking around until he's ready to retire, Cano potentially here for the long haul, that's a lot of aging talent in the infield.

I'd be extremely happy if we signed Tex. My only point is that I can see the Yankees angle here in not just blowing the market yet again to do whatever it takes to sign him. Rosenthal has a point to a degree, but I just don't know how wise it is to go for broke with Tex and commit to him as he enters his decline years. 5-6 years down the road, where does that leave our infield? A 34/35 year old at 1st, a 38 year old at 3rd, and a 39 year old at SS. That's if Jeter doesn't move, which he probably will. But what if he can't play the outfield? Who goes to the DH?

I just think these long term deals that are over the top in years can seriously handcuff a team. It happened with Giambi, and even 4 year deals to Damon and Matsui have handcuffed us. Heck, Posada's deal has already potentially done that.

The Yankees need to find players like Teixeira before they make a name for themselves, age 22-24. Not easy to do, and it's mostly luck. But what they need to avoid is long term contracts for players who have reached the age of 29-30, and really have nowhere to go but down. If you look historically over the past 10 years, aside from the atypical steroid sluggers like McGwire and Bonds, players begin declining at age 30 (some more than others) and by age 35 are not nearly as good as the better players in the game who are younger.

Teixeira would likely be great for 3-4 years. The last 4+ or so years of his contract is what scares me. There's just so much that can go wrong with a guy (on TOP of the "standard" decline due to age), that even making the exception for Alex Rodriguez made me cringe a bit.

Can you name me some players over the last 10 years that have maintained an incredibly high standard of performance past age 34? Take a look at the top 20 players in OPS over the past 5 seasons and see how many are age 34 or older. Do you think Teixeira will still be in the top 20 in OPS at age 34-37? Do you think he won't lose his quickness over at 1st?

These are just some of the reasons why paying him $200M for 8 seasons isn't the smartest long term solution. Is it worth getting 3-4 great years out of him only to have us paint ourselves into a corner for the next 4 years after that? Especially at a position that's always a loaded position offensively.

Greg Cohen said...

I agree with some of your points but even so I don't think signing Teixeira would be a bad move at all. Even if they just get 4 or 5 great years from him, I still think it's worth it. I also think he's a huge piece of the puzzle for this team.

While I do believe he will slow down offensively over the course of the contract, I don't think we should worry about his defense. First baseman tend to hold up better as they get older than other players. Tino Martinez, for example, was still a solid defensive first baseman at 34-37 years old.

I wish they could sign him to a five or six year deal, but that can't happen. But if the Yankees want to win in the next few seasons they're going to need a bat, and they're going to need to solidify their defense, signing Teixeira accomplishes both.

pinstripes said...

I agree with you for the most part that it would likely be a net positive move.

What I don't necessarily agree with is the need for another bat. I think that the improved pitching, along with hopefully healthy years from Matsui and Posada, and improved overall offensive years from Cano, "CF", and "LF", that's plenty of offense to win. It's more about timely hitting than building a lineup full of dominant hitters.

After 2009 things will be more clear in terms of needs. We'll have a better idea of where our minor leaguers stand (Montero, Jackson), as well as what holes need to be filled. I'm comfortable with living with Swisher at 1st for 2009. I think that's more than enough to win it all. It's going to be the pitching that ultimately decides the Yankees fate.

Giambi and Swisher are almost a wash, for all intents and purposes, so the only loss is Abreu and the gains are (potentially) Cano, Matsui, Posada, and even A-Rod could be better than last year. I feel like there's plenty of offense and a good balance from at least 1-7/8, and we're likely to have improvement at 9 (Gardner?).

Our lineup had a bunch of underperformers and injuries, our pitching staff was a ragtag bunch, and we still won 89 games.

There's always another bat just around the corner. There's always guys you can obtain. I just don't think there's nearly that urgency for a middle of the order guy. Adding Tex would be a nice bonus, but I just feel like it's way more than is needed, and even with him, the fate of the team would still rest on the success and health of the pitching staff.

Jason Candreva said...

We don't need him as bad as everybody thinks. Let's save some payroll flexibility, and see what happens with the offense in 2009. If the Yankees want a bat, they should go after a CF (Edmonds is out there, Ankiel and Dejesus on the block, even Cameron would be an upgrade). Then, on top of that upgrade, Posada, Matsui, Cano all provide upgrades as well. With a better pitching staff, this offense will be much better, not having to carry the whole load. There will be more top-tier FA next year.

(Oh, and not to mention, the Yankees had a better record than 2/8 playoff teams, and within 3 games of 2 more playoff teams. Winning 89 games with a very underachieving offense, no full-time catcher, no production from CF, a rotation with only 2 quality starters (if you consider Andy's 6.5 ERA in the second half "quality"), and a new manager is not too shabby. It's not time to panic. Overhauling the SP has to guarantee at least another 4-10 victories, if not more.)

Anonymous said...

After this 2009 say goodbye to Damon, Matsui, Molina, which right there is $28 million, So I can see +'s & -'s to signing Tex or Manny. I wish Tex would do a 5 yr deal for more money then want an 8 yr deal.

daneptizl said...

I'm mad at the damn contract they signed A-Rod to last offseason... I'd give Tex 6/138. I want Delmon Young for center.

Greg Cohen said...

It seems that the Yankees are going to go after Manny because they believe they need a bat. If they go after Manny the entire team will become a defensive liability because it's putting people in their worse positions, i.e. Damon playing center. If they're going to go after a bat it should be Teixeira and not Manny.

They also don't need flexibility when it comes to filling a position that needs to be filled, especially when there is nobody in the minors who is close to being a major league ready first baseman.

Marc said...

Why would they sign Manny, another corner outfielder/DH for three years at $25 million per year instead of signing the much younger, more useful, Mark Teixeira? You're right Greg, it doesn't make any sense.

daneptizl said...

Maybe they're sending these mixed signals, but they're planning to come out on top with Tex in the fold?

Greg Cohen said...

That's what I'm hoping Daneptizl.

Eliezer said...

It’s simple, because Manny sells. We are only get good return for Teixeira price if we win the WS and become that power house again (and I think it could happen) but if you bring Manny the drama he is going to create and the dollars that are going to fly in, almost everybody will want to see how he will fit here, him against the RS and all that, you'll get value return in one season as long as we are successful during the season and even if we are not successful its going to be hard to blame on his signing and defense (like always most NYY fans don't care about) also keep in mind that it’s easier to negotiate with him that with Teixeira, Manny does want to play here and Teixeira wants to play for BAL and there’s not that much competition over him.

Also some Yankees executives believe he could bring to this team what The Babe brought to those past NYY teams.

I prefer Teixeira but not at that price, I don't want him to go to the RS neither (even when I also heard Big Papi its not real happy about the move and stuff like that could tear their team apart) but Manny is a winner everywhere he's been CLE, BOS, LAD he is the type of players that on a crazy way always manage to motivate his teammates to play better and to become winners, and that’s not a bad of a second choice for us to make.

Marc said...

Bringing in Manny to sell tickets will come back and bite them in the ass. And I they're going to sell tickets anyway because they're going to sell out every game for the next four or five years just based on having a new stadium so it doesn't make sense.

Manny doesn't want to be a Yankee he wants to get paid. He would play in Japan if they'd pay him $25 million a year.

And if they believe that he will will bring them what the babe did then they need to put the pipe down.

Dennis said...

Forget Manny and go with Tex. The Yanks don't just need a bat, they need defense.

Greg Cohen said...

That's how I feel Dennis.

Jeteristheman said...

A freaking men