April 11 – Happy Birthday Mark Teixeira
I believe it was my son Matthew who e-mailed me to let me know the Yankees had signed Mark Teixeira. I was both shocked and smiling when I read his message. It was early January in 2009 and New York had already snagged CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett during that free agent signing season to rejuvenate their starting rotation. The prevailing rumor was that Teixeira was going to sign with the Red Sox but at the last minute, the Yankees swooped in and made the offer that Tex was waiting for and he was on his way to the Bronx.
What surprised me most as I got to watch this guy play every day was how good he really is as a defensive first baseman. I knew he was a quality hitter with good power from both sides of the plate but I had no idea that he would make such a positive impact for New York with his glove. In both 2009 and 2010, his extraordinary range and his ability to catch any ball thrown anywhere near him improved the entire Yankee infield dramatically. In fact, during the 2009 postseason Teixeira was terrible at the plate but was so good in the field I truly doubt the Yankees would have gotten to or won that World Series without him.
Through 2011, his offensive numbers since arriving in the Bronx had also been pretty impressive. During his first three seasons in pinstripes, he averaged 34 home runs and 114 RBIs per season with 102 runs scored per year. He was on his way to similar numbers in 2012 when he suffered a calf injury in late August and missed the last month of the regular season and the playoffs. He managed to hit 24 home runs and drive in 84 runs in the 123 games he played. His 135 HRs as a Yankee put him in 35th place on the all-time list, five behind the late Tom Thresh.
What has been dropping since he came to New York are Teixeira’s batting average and on base percentage. He has also been pretty much an offensive bust during his Yankee April’s and more problematically, his Yankee October’s. This is one of the few guys in baseball history to have hit at least 30 home runs and drive in 100 or more runs for eight straight seasons. When he’s in one of his hitting funks, it really has a negative impact on New York’s ability to score runs. As the Yankees’ 2013 spring training camp was opening, I was really hoping Teixeira would not experience yet another horrible April at the plate and I sort of got my wish. After hurting his wrist hitting balls off a tee while practicing with the US team for the WBC Championship series this spring, Teixeira will not even get to swing his bat in a 2013 regular season game for New York until at least May 1.
Mark was born on April 11, 1980, in Annapolis, MD. The Yankees have him under contract through 2016.
|162 Game Avg.||162||710||613||102||171||38||2||37||119||2||1||81||122||.279||.369||.527||.896||131||323||14||10||0||6||9|
|TEX (5 yrs)||693||3006||2632||426||746||173||12||153||499||11||3||318||555||.283||.368||.533||.901||128||1402||60||42||0||14||44|
|NYY (4 yrs)||593||2627||2250||372||591||132||5||135||425||8||3||304||429||.263||.357||.506||.863||126||1138||51||43||0||30||19|
|ATL (2 yrs)||157||691||589||101||174||36||1||37||134||0||0||92||116||.295||.395||.548||.943||146||323||15||7||0||3||12|
|LAA (1 yr)||54||234||193||39||69||14||0||13||43||2||0||32||23||.358||.449||.632||1.081||181||122||4||4||0||5||4|