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Yankees Would Be Foolish to Trade Assets to Replace Mark Teixeira

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 14:  Mark Teixeira #25 of the New York Yankees bats against the Detroit Tigers during Game Two of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 14, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2013

Trading assets to replace Mark Teixeira's bat in the lineup is just about the last thing that New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman needs to consider.

As reported by MLB.com's Bryan Hoch, the 32-year-old slugger will be out of action until early-to-mid May with a wrist injury suffered while hitting off a tee during practice for Team USA at the World Baseball Classic:

Mark Teixeira will be out 8-10 weeks. Four weeks of complete rest.

— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) March 6, 2013

Coupled with center fielder Curtis Granderson's fractured forearm (h/t ESPN), the Yankees will start the season without two of their biggest run producers in the lineup.

More damning is what the Yankees lose on defense, where Teixeira routinely saves infielders from being charged with throwing errors by digging balls out of the dirt and stretching to make the catch on errant throws that come his way.

There isn't another player on the roster who is as solid a defender at first base as Tex.

It would seem that if ever there was a time for panic in the Bronx, now would be it.

However, panic leads to rash decisions, and that's exactly what the Bronx Bombers need to avoid making.

Calls will be made for the Yankees to go out and acquire a veteran to fill the void left by Tex's absence—whether it be a first baseman or a third baseman, with Kevin Youkilis able to move over to first if needs be.

Names like Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau and Carlos Pena will be mentioned as trade targets, as will free agents like Carlos Lee and Aubrey Huff.

The Yankees response to those calls must be a simple one.

Thanks, but no thanks.

For years, the Yankees have been criticized by fans and the media alike for consistently trading away youngsters for veterans, resulting in a roster with an average age of 28.3 years old.

That's the third highest in all of baseball, according to ESPN.

It's not as if the Yankees have a plethora of MLB-ready prospects to deal away, either. The majority of talent in the minor league system is still at least a year or two away from making an impact in the big leagues.

There isn't a team in baseball that's looking to do the Yankees any favors, after decades of the team spending big to acquire the best talent available—and driving prices up for players around the league.

Opposing general managers might be willing to unload a Morneau or a Cuddyer, but at what cost?

Prospects like Mason Williams, Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin and Nik Turley are pretty close to untouchable.

However, is a short-term replacement for Tex worth it when the cost is someone more like Zoilo Almonte, Angelo Gumbs, David Adams, Corban Joseph or Adam Warren?

I think not, especially when only 15 of the team's first 41 opponents finished 2012 with a record of .500 or better.

Were Teixeira going to be out for three months, it would be a different story.

However, in the grand scheme of things, he's not going to be out that long. Furthermore, when you consider that he has been a notoriously slow starter—evidenced by his career slash line of .238/.342/.423 in March and April—if the Yankees were going to lose him to injury, this was the time for it to happen.

Don't get me wrong, there is cause for concern. Wrist injuries are notorious for hanging around all season long, and Tex may not be the same player at the plate that Yankees fans have become accustomed to seeing when he returns.

If that's the case, then the Yankees can address the situation at that time.

For now, with a relatively soft schedule to open the season, there's simply no reason to go out and make a move.

Juan Rivera is capable of holding down the position in Teixeira's absence, and should the team feel saucy, there's always the option of moving Youkilis to first base and putting Eduardo Nunez at the hot corner.

Whether the team made a move or not, there's no getting around the fact the infield defense is going to be weakened by Tex's absence.

Weakening the rest of the organization in trying to replace him would be foolish, misguided and it would set back the team's efforts to develop major league talent from within.

That's the last thing the Yankees need to do.

 

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