Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Mark Teixeira factor

The paperwork hasn't necessarily been turned in, but it's probably at least filled out: The Yankees are expected to remove Mark Teixeira, the Yankees first baseman/No. 3 hitter, from their roster before today's game.

The slugger sufficiently wrecked his hamstring Tuesday night to end his season.

Mark Teixeira led the American League in runs scored
this season (113) — and it was clearly his worst season
since his rookie year in 2003.
Teixeira is a significant figure in the construction of both the ALCS contenders — and, for that matter, in the roster composition of another playoff team, the Atlanta Braves.

The Texas Rangers landed Teixeira in the 2001 draft — the same draft the Twins opened by taking Joe Mauer — and quickly converted him from his collegiate position (third base) to first because they had, in Hank Blalock, a third baseman they expected would be an lineup fixture for years to come. Tex became the regular at first in 2003; he hit 26 homers that year, which remains his career low.

(The Texas infield that season: Teixeira at first, Michael Young at second, Blalock at third, Alex Rodriguez at short. They combined for 385 runs, 364 RBIs, 116 homers, and a .292 batting average. They went 71-91.)

in 2007, Texas traded him (and Ron Mahay)  to Atlanta for a passel of prospects. Included in that package were Neftali Feliz, now the Texas closer and a likely Rookie of the Year winner; and Elvis Andrus, the Texas shortstop and leadoff hitter, who (my opinion then and now) should have been the Rookie of the Year winner last season. The Braves made that trade hoping to sign the Georgia Tech alum to a long-term deal, but he has Scott Boras for an agent, and players hire Boras to go to free agency.

The Braves moved Tex to Anaheim in midseason of 2008, Teixeira's walk year. Their take — Casey Kotchman — was nowhere near the price they paid.

Then Teixeira signed an eight-year deal with the Yankees. According to Baseball Reference, he is to be paid $22.5 million in each of the next six seasons.

The Rangers have profited from the Teixeira pick at least as much by trading him as they did by playing him. The Twins have no cause to regret taking Mauer ahead of him, but the other three teams that picked ahead of the Rangers probably do.

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