It was an injury-plagued 2012 for New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira and despite that they were still able to win the division. However, if Teixeira and his bat don’t come alive in 2013, the Yankees are going to find the road to winning another division title even more daunting than it’s already shaping up to be.
The Yankees will have a much different lineup on the field in 2013 with changes at catcher, in right field, and an adjustment at third base. They are an aging ballclub playing in an upgraded division and they were not able to obtain big-time players in the free-agent market because of their newfound approach to spending. This team will have to rely on their core to produce and Teixeira’s steady presence at first base will be counted on.
Teixeira will be entering his fifth season as a Yankee and while he’s played a great first base, his offensive numbers have been in decline since his first season with the team in 2009. Teixeira posted the type of numbers that justified why the Yankees aggressively went after him in free agency by hitting 39 home runs, with 122 runs batted in, to go along with a .383 on-base percentage and .565 slugging percentage. Injuries derailed him last season and delivered a major blow to the durability the Yankees have come to expect from him. A nagging cough, then a wrist issue, and finally a calf problem all had a major impact on Teixeira’s 2012 season. One look at the Yankees lineup as it currently stands heading into 2013 and it’s easy to see how vital it is that Teixeira remains healthy.
The Yankees have Robinson Cano, however he’s also in a contract year and it’ll be interesting to see how he approaches looming free agency for the first time in his young career. Alex Rodriguez will most likely miss a large part of the season while he rehabs from injury and it remains to be seen what his temporary replacement, Kevin Youkilis, will provide in terms of offense. Curtis Granderson may provide another 40 home run season, however he may also add plenty of strikeouts to go along with them. The Yankees are going to need Teixeira to turn back the clock to 2009, because the middle of their lineup depends on it.
Players will have down years and injuries will happen, however in Teixeira’s case, it has not been one down year rather it’s been a couple of down years in a row. He needs to come into this season with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove because that’s how he’s going to be watched most likely by the fanbase. If there is anything that can’t be stressed enough here it is how vital it is that the Yankees get production from Teixeira. This is a crucial year in Teixeira’s time in New York. The Yankees need him to be more than a compliment in the middle of their lineup now, they need him to step up and be an anchor.