Tuesday afternoon, we shared the news that the Yankees were making a late run at signing Mark Teixeira to play first base for them in 2009 and beyond. It looks like the old fable about the tortoise and the hare was correct because several sources are reporting that Brian Cashman landed another prize.
The word, reported by both Jon Heyman and Buster Olney, is that Teixeira got an eight-year deal from the Yankees, with a total price tag in the neighborhood of $180 million. It's a stunning development after more than a month of hearing that the Yankees wouldn't pursue baseball's top free agent position player, and less than a week after they made their $240 million-plus investment into the rotation.
It's also a big blow to the Red Sox's hopes of acquiring Teixeira to bolster their lineup. Adding a bat will be quite difficult for the Sox, since the only impact hitter on the market is Manny Ramirez and there ain't much chance that he'll wind up patrolling left in Fenway ever again. You'd imagine that would also depress Ramirez's value since the Yankees wouldn't be an interested bidder, but who knows what else the Brothers Steinbrenner have up their sleeve?
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Why the change of heart? It's just a guess, but that new stadium with the ticket prices that border on legal theft is the culprit. To justify those prices in this economy, the Yankees have to put forth a product that is luxury in every single way. Skimping on payroll doesn't qualify and the CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Teixeira signings show that the Yankees understand that.
The 28-year old first baseman makes the Yankees a much better team. He's a great defensive first baseman and a patient switch-hitter who posts good power numbers. He'll make the logjam in the outfield a little bit worse, though a trade is almost certain now, but he makes the lineup longer and more dangerous. Coupled with the gains on the mound, Teixeira's signing makes the Yankees a much more legitimate threat to return to October.