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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mitchell: A-Rod, Teixeira and the Yankees’ Future

Tex: Tough. Tender. Today. Tomorrow.

The question facing the Yankees is not whether Rodriguez or Teixeira are better at this moment, or even which player is likely to be more productive in the next 3-5 years. The answer in both cases is Teixeira. The question should be which one should they try to move. Two additional issues, defense and perceived value, inform the answer to that question. Within probably 2-3 years, Rodriguez will no longer be able to play 3rd base and will have to switch to 1st base or DH, so by that time the Yankees will need to move one of these players as keeping two less than star offensive performers who can only play 1st base or DH makes no sense. Until then, Rodriguez has more value to the Yankees because he can play a more demanding position, and will likely be able to make a shift to first base in the future if necessary. If the Yankees trade Rodriguez, finding somebody who can play third base and hit as much as Rodriguez will be more difficult than finding somebody who can play first and hit as well as Teixeira.

The second reason is the relative perceived value of the two players now. Although both players are in decline, this perception is much stronger regarding Rodriguez then regarding Teixeira. While most teams with which the Yankees would make a trade may realize that this, the perception and likely fan reaction cannot be overlooked. A general manager who trades for Rodriguez can expect a big fan backlash if he does not produce, while most fans would be more surprised if Teixeira were equally unproductive. This means that the Yankees would likely get more in return for Teixeira than for Rodriguez. Rodriguez’s contract will be a problem if the Yankees hold onto him, but the Yankees have more money then they have promising young players of the kind they might get in exchange for Teixeira, but are not likely to get in return for Rodriguez.

Two years from now, both Rodriguez and Teixeira are going to be, at best, slightly below average 1B-DH types, with Rodriguez perhaps still able to play third base some of the time. They also both make enough money that if they remain on the Yankees, they will get a lot of playing time. Accordingly, the Yankees can get by with one of these players, but not both. The media and fan base clearly would rather see Rodriguez go, but the limited ways Teixeira can be used and the limited value Rodriguez would bring in a trade, the smarter move might be to keep Rodriguez and move Teixeira.

Repoz Posted: November 17, 2012 at 06:56 AM | 2 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: yankees

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   1. The District Attorney Posted: November 17, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4304943)
Even though A-Rod's contract is more oppressive than Teixeira's, you can at least come up with justifications for other teams to be interested in A-Rod-- he plays a position other than the easiest one on the field to fill, he's really famous and a future Hall of Famer*, he's got a couple career HR milestones to hit with a small chance at the big one... I can't even make up reasons why anyone else would want Tex.

* Asterisk.
   2. BDC Posted: November 17, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4304985)
better at this moment

Is it a given that Teixeira had a better 2012 than AROD? WAR would say so, 3.6 to 2.0, but the difference is largely in assessing Teixeira as having had a really superior year (or 3/4 thereof) with the glove at 1B. In terms of playing time and offense, there wasn't much to choose between them, and AROD can still at least play plausibly at 3B.

Teixeira had a better 2011, for sure, largely because he stayed in the lineup with his usual consistency. If he plays only 120 games a year, he becomes a very ordinary proposition.

It's fair to venture that Teixeira has more near-term upside; he's younger, and till 2012, more recently in much better condition.

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