It seems like yesterday that I decided to take a nap thinking Mark Teixeira would sign with the Red Sox and woke up to the thrill of finding out he chose the Yankees instead. Eight years at $180 million to go along with newly acquired ace, C.C. Sabathia. I cannot believe it has been five years already but time sure does fly. As both players enter their sixth season in pinstripes, it raises the question. How would you rate their first five seasons?
This past season was rough for just about every Yankee, and Teixeira and Sabathia were no different. Both had a very poor 2013 but we’ll first take a look at Sabathia. I think it’s safe to say that the Yankees got their money’s worth when it comes to the left-hander. He has been a work horse every season. Even in his unproductive 2013 season, he managed 211 innings on the bump.
Sabathia was the definition of an ace his first four years in the Bronx. From 2009- 2012, he averaged 226 innings, a 18-7 record to go along with a 3.27 ERA. He won at least 15 games in each of those four seasons while posting an ERA no higher than 3.40. He also pitched at least 200 innings in each of those seasons which is the clear cut definition of a staff ace.
Unfortunately, the big man scuffled greatly in 2013 going 14-13 with a not-so-desirable 4.78 ERA. However, he still managed to pitch 200 innings. How much of a difference does a season like that make? Well, his career ERA with the Yankees went from 3.22 to 3.52. It does make a decent difference but when you look at his first five seasons in New York, C.C. Sabathia is hardly a bust.
That brings us to Mark Teixeira. This one is a tough one. Many people will tell you the Yankees should have never signed the first baseman. I could not disagree more. You’re going to have injury problems here and there. There’s no avoiding it. Unfortunately, Teixeira is dealing with injury problems now but you can’t forget about his early Yankee production.
The last couple of years have been rough for the Gold Glove winner. There is no denying that, but his first three years and even some of the 2012 season saw above average production. In his first three years with the Yankees, (2009-2011) Mark Teixeira averaged 157 games, a .266 average along with 37 home runs and 114 RBI. Although his batting average didn’t really translate much to the Yankees, his power numbers did.
The last two years is where a lot of people threw up the red flag. In 2012, Teixeira missed nearly all of September resulting in only 123 games played, a .251 average, 24 home runs, and 84 RBI. Then there was the wrist injury in 2013 which caused him to miss almost the entire season appearing in just 15 games.
Looking at the first five years of his contract, Mark Teixeira may not be a clear win but he is definitely not a bust. Yes, his injuries got in the way of having bigger numbers. Yes, maybe he is overpaid but isn’t every baseball player? Besides, it is hard to forget that he is the best defensive first baseman in baseball. Teixeira has five Gold Gloves to show for it and the Yankees are a much better team with his glove in the field even if his bat doesn’t show up.
Finally, when it comes down to it, we are not looking at the duration of their contracts. We are looking at each player’s first five seasons. We all may feel differently three of four years down the road when both of them are off the books.
The Yankees need the duo to contribute more than ever if they want to compete in 2014. Although the Yankees have had many signings this offseason and continue to monitor others, Sabathia’s and Teixeira’s success going forward is crucial to the team’s success. As of today however, it’s hard to call either player a bust.