Mark Teixeira, Yankees Shortstop of the Future? What?
Mar 21, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees first basemanMark Teixeira
(25) reacts during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
“Now batting for the New York Yankees, shortstop number 25, Mark Teixeira!” What… What? When you think of shortstops, Mark Teixeira’s name doesn’t pop into you’re head. That’s probably because he’s a 6’3″, 215-pound first baseman who hasn’t played an inning at shortstop in his 11-year Major League career. So it’s reasonable if you didn’t know that Teixeira’s first position was at short, back when he when he was a minor league youngster in the Texas Rangers’ organization. Coming up through the Rangers’ system, Tex bounced around between shortstop and third base and didn’t actually play first base until spring training of his rookie season in 2003. Wait hold up… so the 5-time Gold Glove first baseman never played a game at first base until he was 23? Believe it or not that is the case.
In 2003 the Rangers’ were set at shortstop with Alex Rodriguez, the best player in baseball at the time, manning that spot on the field. So the Rangers’ moved Teixeira across the diamond and in the process made him a more well-rounded ball player. Oh but of course, Teixeira could always hit and the only thing keeping from the big leagues was a position. Even after moving over to first in 2003 he didn’t solidify the position until 2005, moving around the diamond at third and even playing some outfield. So when he finally stuck to first what did it get him? Not much, just an 8-year $180 million dollar contract with the Yankees back in 2009 and a reputation as one of baseball’s best fielders. So with Derek Jeter retiring at the end of the season and no immediate successor will Teixeira return to his former position and lead the Yankees’ to victory as the shortstop for the Bronx Bombers?
“Sure,” Teixeira said, “If they want a big, slow shortstop, I could do that.”
So in other words… no, never! Tex moving to shortstop is not just funny to think about it’s also pretty ridiculous. Teixeira is an excellent defender at first base and is not going to move in this lifetime. Besides, the Yankees have plenty of options on the free agent and trade markets that they should be able to find a suitable replacement for Derek Jeter after the season comes to a close. So, if you turn on the television on Opening Day 2015 and Mark Teixeira is starting at shortstop, brace yourself for what could be a very interesting season.