In fairness to Teixeira
(IF A-ROD CAN’T PLAY LIKE A-ROD)
“Something Shakespeare never said is, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.'” — Robyn Hitchcock
Today the wires are bursting with, “Now the pressure is on you, Mark Teixeira” stories. Those stories couldn’t be more loaded with bull if they mooed. This is a simplistic effort to create a new Yankees scapegoat since Alex Rodriguez’s injury effectively insulates him from criticism. If Rodriguez misses a significant chunk of the season, Teixeira can hit like Lou Gehrig and Don Mattingly put together and still not overcome the basic weakness of the offense.
Let’s go around the diamond:
1B Mark Teixeira: Solid producer, typically scrapes the underside of MVP-level production but could easily rise to that level with a good season.
2B Robinson Cano: Has to hit .300 to contribute. He might do that, he might not.
3B Cody Ransom: Has some pop, but is unlikely to hit for sustainable average (PECOTA: .216/.293/.386).
SS Derek Jeter: Offense has declined in two straight seasons. Average of five projection systems: .300/.368/.419.
LF Johnny Damon: Almost certain to take a giant step back.
CF Brett Gardner and pals: Any production will be a bonus.
RF Nick Swisher: should be productive in a lower echelon kind of way, Xavier Nady less so, either way, not a big plus.
DH Hideki Matsui: should hit decently, but not at an MVP level.
C Jorge Posada: may or may not be ready to open the season, may or may not hit as well as he used to, and will probably have to yield to Jose Molina on a regular basis.
Like the British at Singapore, the Yankees pointed all of their guns in the wrong direction this winter. They went heavy for pitching, but the offense needed an overhaul and the Minor League required needed some of its pitchers converted into position players. That didn’t happen, and as with last season, the Yankees are in the position of having a desperately wounded player (last year it was Posada and Matsui) try to overcome an injury because they just can’t compensate. Without an MVP-level Rodriguez, the offense is very likely to struggle to support the new starting rotation. Unless Cano, Jeter, and the rest rebound in big ways or stave off expected regressions, Teixeira won’t be enough if he hits .180, .280, or .380.