In the darkest economic forecast since Babe Ruth wore the pinstripes, the team he made legendary is spending money like never before. At 3:30PM ESPN's Buster Olney reported that 1B Mark Teixiera would join the New York Yankees after agreeing to an eight-year, $180 million contract. Yes, the Evil Empire has struck again.
And anyone who thinks they made the wrong move is out of their mind.
Teixiera is 28 years old (nine years younger than his predecessor, Jason Giambi). He hit 33 home runs last year and drove in 121 runs. And he hit .308 - to put that number in perspective, the highest batting average a Yankee first baseman has had since 2002 was Giambi's .271 in 2005.
Giambi's stubborn insistence on pulling everything in sight will not be mirrored by his replacement. Neither will his lack of defensive range. Plus, Teixiera switch-hits. From both sides of the plate.
(Sorry. I had to.)
Now, between Sabathia, Burnett and Teixiera the Yankees just spent $423 million over the next eight seasons. This represents a huge turnaround from Cashman's previous attempts to build up the farm system, right? Wrong.
The Yankees will lose a total of three supplemental draft picks in compensation to these three players' former teams. They gave away no prospects. And they picked up two legitimate strikeout pitchers (a thing in short supply in the Bronx of late) and one of the best hitters in the game in his prime.
Well worth it. If they sign another starter (Pettitte? Please?), and put Joba Chamberlain back in the bullpen, the Yanks will be back on top of their division for 2009 and onward.