If you believe the headlines, Mark Teixeira is worth $22.5 million a year.
If you believe common sense, he isn't nearly worth that much.
Let me preface my point by saying this: Mark Teixeira is a good player. Any team that picked him up, except for a handful, would be better at first base than they are now.
Are the Yankees better at first base with Teixeira than they would be with Jason Giambi? Yes. Teixeira is one of the best fielders in the game, recording a .994 FLD% last year, for an average of .996% in his career at his natural position at first.
Giambi has struggled at many times first base, and is not getting any younger--but his power has been his main draw. That has begun to drop off in recent years. However, his 32 home runs last year show that his bat still has some pop.
Teixiera has relatively good power, but is a better situational hitter--121 RBI in 2008. He will fit right into the Yankees lineup.
But is he worth $22.5 million a year? I don't think so.This is the game the New York Yankees play every single season. They see a player they want, overbid to the point that no other team can match them, and then snap up their prize.
CC Sabathia had some solid years in Cleveland and a Cy Young-worthy season in 2008. But he's not worth $23 million a year.
With the cash the Yankees are playing Teixiera and Sabathia, does this mean that they consider them on nearly a par with Alex Rodriguez, who is making $27 million a year?
What if these deals don't pan out? What if one or both turn into another Carl Pavano?
The Yankees aren't the only ones. Detroit gave Miguel Cabrera $152.3 million over eight years in the 2008 offseason. Johan Santana is getting paid $22.9 million a year to pitch for the Mets. The list goes on and on.
It appears that if teams want to be successful, they have to have a lot of money. Because of that, the poorer teams like Kansas City get shut out each and every year because they can't keep up with this salary-cap free system.
Tampa Bay built from within. They went to the World Series last year. But that doesn't guarantee that another small-market club will do it next year.
A salary cap has worked for NFL, NBA, and NHL--even small-market franchises have a shot at winning. Why can't it work for MLB?
The luxury tax does nothing. Big market teams can afford to pay it because their owners are making too much cash for it to matter.
Baseball needs to do something soon. In this economy, unless the league can put a stop to this nonsense of bloated contracts to the people that honestly aren't worth the money they're given, small-market teams will go under; lack of money to get good players leads to a poor product, which leads to a lack of ticket sales, which leads to less money, threatening viability.
I love baseball. But I hate what it appears to be turning into. Let's hope MLB can do something about it before it gets worse.