Opinion

What is Mark Teixeira’s New York Yankees legacy?

The New York Yankees placed first baseman Mark Teixeira on the 15-day disabled list with a right knee injury. The injury shows an articular cartilage tear. In the final year of his contract, if Teixeira needs surgery, his career in Pinstripes could likely be done.

While one hopes Tex can make a recovery, if this is truly it, what is his legacy in the Bronx? A word I would use to describe his time with the Yankees is, frustration. In short summation, Teixeira was paid like Jason Giambi with a similar trajectory and put up Tino Martinez type numbers, flashing a glove like Don Mattingly.

Much like Giambi, who hit .300 with the Oakland Athletics and would end up a .260 hitter with New York, Teixeira, who hit .283 with the Texas Rangers, .295 with the Atlanta Braves and .358 in a short stint with the Los Angeles Angels, is a .250 hitter with the Yankees. If one wants to chalk it up to age, injuries, shifts and the temptation of the short porch, fair enough. Yet, Teixeira also had pop in those other stops and was a much more complete hitter.

On the upside, Teixeira was a two-time All-Star, three-time gold glove recipient and in 2009 finished second in AL MVP voting. Speaking of 2009, one could argue the refreshing jolt Tex gave the club in helping capture its 27th flag, made it all worth it.

During the 2009 campaign, Teixeira’s 39 taters and 122-RBI topped the junior circuit. In the postseason, Teixeira swatted a pair of home runs, including a walk-off shot against the Minnesota Twins in the eleventh inning of Game 2 of the ALDS.

While Teixeira would finish fourth in the AL 2010 with 33 home runs and third in 2011 with 39, his playoff numbers left more to be desired.

In franchise history, Tex ranks 17th with 194 home runs, only two ahead of the aforementioned Martinez. Tex hit his in 164 less games. Compared to Martinez’ .484 slugging percentage, Tex slugged .482 in Pinstripes.

Ah yes, less games. Therein lies the frustration. Whether by bad luck or bizarre, Teixeira missed quite a few games in his Yankee tenure, starting in 2012. Name a location, wrist, neck, leg, knee, back and Tex likely had some sort of related ailment.

In one respect, one could argue given the Yankees success or lack thereof from 2013 on, that Teixeira was their most indispensable player, as the club missed the postseason with him playing in just 15 games that season and 123 in 2014. When Tex experienced a renaissance All-Star campaign in 2015, swatting 31 home runs, the Bronx Bombers made it back to October.

If this is indeed the final curtain call for Teixeira in New York, he’ll ultimately be remembered for helping the Yankees win a title but much like Giambi and to an extent Mattingly, because of his multitude of injuries, remembered for what could have been much more.

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