Yanks Complete Hat Trick; Sign Teixeira

Wow.  What a move.  Can anyone stop the Yankees?

For those of you living somewhere other than planet earth, yesterday the Yanks signed their third big free agent this off-season, signing first baseman Mark Teixeira to an 8 year/$180 million contract.  With his signing, the Yanks have committed over $420 million to three players this off-season.  The best part is, the Yankees are still UNDER their 2008 payroll.  With the acquisition of Teixeira, there is no reason why the Yankees should win any less than 110 games next year.  I know the AL East is tough, but can anyone beat this team?

Teixeira is a great signing for the Yankees.  He’s a switch-hitter and fits nicely into the #3 hole in the batting order.  His average season in the bigs is .290/36/121, strong numbers anywhere but if you put him in the middle of the Yankee lineup, I fully expect 40 home runs and 140 RBI.  Teixeira is also a stellar defensive first baseman, who will no doubt save Derek Jeter and co. several errors over the next few years.  He gives the Yankees the best glove at first that they’ve had since the days of Tino Martinez in the late 1990s (a vastly underrated firstbaseman who deserved at least two gold gloves).  Another key component of his signing is that by signing in New York, he stays out of Boston.  You hit your rival hardest when you improve your team and by doing so, you prevent them from improving theirs.

With the acquisition, however, there are a couple of questions to be raised as the Yanks look long term.  Number one is what does this mean for Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.  Maybe the Yanks are comfortable with him at third when he hits age 40, but I always penciled him in at first as early as 2-3 years from now.  Same with Jeter.  I could have easily penciled him in at first, although I see him more in leftfield.  He needs to move sooner though, his range at short is terrible.  Speaking of the outfield, it looks a bit crowded these days, doesn’t it?  Nick Swisher, Xavier Nady, Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, Brett Gardner/Melky Cabrera need to be written into the lineup card for three outfield positions and one DH spot.  That’s five guys for four spots.  While trades have been mentioned as possibilities, I see Damon in left, Swisher in center, Nady in right, Matsui as the DH and you have Gardner on the bench.  I’d still like to see the Yanks revive the possibility of a Melky Cabrera-for-Mike Cameron deal to keep center warm until a more permanent (read: Austin Jackson) solution is found, I think it’s unlikely.  I would understand if the Yanks traded one or more of those guys, but I like my solution, too.  If they were to consider trades, I want the team to remember the Nady is a right-handed bat (and they don’t have too many) and Swisher is a switch-hitter.

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