…The Bad News Is, They Can Pretty Much Forget About Manny.

December 23rd, 2008at 09:50pm Posted by Eli

Well, this was unexpected:

The New York Yankees swooped in Tuesday and hooked prized free agent Mark Teixeira, reaching agreement with the first baseman on an eight-year contract worth $180 million, three sources involved in the negotiations said.

The agreement, which is subject to a physical, includes a signing bonus of about $5 million paid out over the first three years of the contract, no opt-out clause and a complete no-trade provision, the sources said.

With the Red Sox, Angels, Nationals and Orioles making well-documented runs at signing Teixeira, the Yankees made an offer weeks ago, but then withdrew it; their intention all along was to make an offer, which they did formally on Tuesday, if it fell within parameters acceptable to the organization.

I really did not see this coming at all.  The Yankees did an excellent job of pretending to be only slightly interested, and everyone (myself included) thought they were going to go after Manny, who is a better hitter… for the next year or two.  Assuming he’s not Yet Another Guy Who Can’t Play In New York, Teixeira is a much better long-term signing: He’s young, he’s a switch-hitter, and he plays good defense at a position the Yankees have struggled to field ever since Tino Martinez left.

The offensive upgrade, along with the pitching upgrade of Sabathia and Burnett, means that the Yankees can afford to trade offense for defense in centerfield and play either Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner there until Austin Jackson is ready.  They probably won’t, but they can.

Another plus about choosing Teixieira instead of Manny: If the Yankees had signed Manny, the Red Sox could still sign Teixiera.  But now that the Yanks have signed Teixeira, there’s no way the Red Sox will take Manny back.  They’ll just have to learn to love Jason Bay… or bring up yet another kid who turns out to be an MVP or Rookie Of The Year candidate.

The one thing that worries me is when I think back to about five years ago, when the Yankees were looking at trading for either Javier Vazquez or Curt Schilling.  I was so relieved when they picked Vazquez, the young, strong guy (same age as Teixeira is now, I believe) – sure, Schilling was a better pitcher, but he was getting up there and probably didn’t have that many good years left.  Yeah, that worked out well.

On the other hand, I was right about Vlad Guerrero vs. Gary Sheffield – they made the wrong call on that one, too.

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