David Ortiz wasn't the only AL East slugger to hang up his cleats this year, as Mark Teixiera played out the last year of his contract in New York. In honor of his retirement, and to look back at his long and editorialized career, let's review 13 years of BP Annual comments about him, as he transitioned from breakout star to huge trade target to huge free agent and beyond.

Year Comment
2016 When future baseball enthusiasts look back at the 2015 season, it's likely they'll forget that Teixeira was a legitimate MVP candidate for a time. In July, his last full month before going down with a leg fracture, he hit .333/.442/.724 and carried the Yankees to a 17-7 record. If he had been able to stay healthy, Teixeira's magnificent season might have been the magnum opus of a chronically underappreciated star leading a group of resurgent veteran over-achievers to glory. Instead he was replaced by a more-than-competent Greg Bird and the Yankees ended up getting pulled into the violent riptide that was the Blue Jays' second-half run. Sometimes, life just isn't remotely fair.
2015 "I absolutely plan on playing 150 games this year," a healthy Teixeira told reporters on February 16th. On September 14th, he changed his mind and admitted that he probably wasn't a 150-games-a-year player, having been sidelined by a gashed left hand, a sore knee, dizziness, a strained oblique and hamstring, and that same old wrist that destroyed his 2013 season. A week later, he promised that a renewed strength-training regimen would restore his power, a best shape of his life story written in the future perfect tense. This is the true horror of old age: not that it happens, but that you don't notice it. You don't think about the fact that when you jog to the mailbox in your thirties, it's become that slow jog that isn't really any faster than walking. You notice the soreness, but you don't notice the subtle ways you limit yourself, fool yourself into preventing yourself from getting sore. Mark Teixeira is a professional athlete, and so must pursue the usual Freudian id-smothering self-psychiatry that allows a reviled public figure to fail continuously without getting down. Mark Teixeira is getting old and weak, and must justify his existence to his irrational and detached Patreon backers that are the fans. If the Yankees are wise, they'll sign someone who can play first base and then actually do so for 60 games next season. The team can probably look forward to 60-80 games of Good Teixeira; they might as well spread them out over the season.
2014 Teixeira spent most of last season on the disabled list, making Lyle Overbay and assorted insurance executives sweat. The switch-hitter injured the tendon sheath in his right wrist while hitting off a tee before the World Baseball Classic, delaying his season debut until May 31st. It took only 15 games for him to aggravate the injury, and after a cortisone shot failed to alleviate his discomfort and a quartet of doctors advised surgery, he went under the knife on July 1st. The saving grace for the Steinbrenners was that the WBC and their own insurers combined to pick up most of his paycheck. Teixeira is expected to be at full strength in time for spring training, and while we don’t have a large sample of previous tendon sheath repairs, the two most prominent players to have similar surgeries—Rickie Weeks and Jose Bautista—showed no obvious ill effects the following season. Teixeira has cost the Yankees $8 million per win over what was supposed to be the affordable portion of his eight-year contract; only three easy payments of $22.5 million to go.
2013 Sabermetricians often belittle batting average in response to the traditional fan’s unhealthy attachment to it, but while average doesn’t work well on its own as an evaluation tool, it sometimes tells a story in concert with other stats. Teixeira, a .295 hitter in the five seasons prior to his arrival in New York, has been a .263 hitter since, and the 10-point difference between his before and after True Averages can be attributed mostly to missing singles. Like Jason Giambi before him, Teixeira has watched those singles vanish into the shift but decided that it wouldn’t behoove him to drop down the occasional bunt as a deterrent. The good news is that unlike Giambi, Teixeira is a Gold Glove-caliber fielder, which should help him hold on to his value, assuming last season’s lingering calf strain doesn’t portend a repeat of Giambi’s chronic leg problems.
2012 Last season was Teixeira's worst since his rookie year, a fact which must be troubling to the Yankees given that they have him signed through 2016. Teixeira was a career .290/.378/.545 hitter through 2009, but over the last two seasons he has dropped to .252/.353/.487, and as impressive as his 2011 home run total was, on a per-at-bat level those dingers came at one of the lowest rates of his career. On the plus side, after years of somnambulant Aprils, Teixeira hit six home runs that month and had totaled 25 by the end of June. His pace slowed thereafter, and he never did put together a sustained run of all-around hitting. Of course, when a player's worst season includes 39 home runs and good defense you can only be so upset, but if Teixeira has taken a step back at 31, what is he going to be like at 36?
2011 One of these years, Teixeira will put together a full season of production. His penchant for slow starts is well known, but in 2010 he really made a fetish of it (.130/.300/.259 in April). He also slowed in September (.220/.346/.349) due to various injuries. In between he was the usual Teixeira, batting .290/.384/.560. The fall injuries are transient and understandable, but Teixeira’s annual April snooze is an example of the power of mind over body and something the first baseman should have outgrown by now. If he requires a spring training reporting date of January 15 to get enough swings in to feel comfortable from Opening Day on, so be it.
2010 Unlike A-Rod, Teixeira received a great deal of respect from MVP voters, finishing second, albeit without receiving a first-place vote. He got them for all the traditional reasons, leading the league in home runs and RBI, as well as the stability his defense brought to the infield. That last doesn't show up in metrics, perhaps because Teixeira did less throwing than any season of his career. (The Yankees had relatively few double-play situations, but even when the staff's high number of strikeouts is taken into account, the Yankees just weren't very good at turning two.) Still, Teixeira's graceful play stood in such vivid contrast to Jason Giambi's butchery that it was easy to believe that the Yankees had benefited from the second-coming of Keith Hernandez. Tremendously strong, Teixeira utilizes an unorthodox swing, hitting off his back foot but using his great strength to muscle the ball out of the park. This raises the question of how many home runs he would hit with a more conventional weight transfer, and how far they would go—miles, probably.
2009 Right place, right time, right agent. Following his trade to the Angels, Teixeira had 54 of the best games of his career, hit the free-agent market with Scott Boras on his side, and netted a huge eight-year deal from the Yankees. While eight years is a lot to give to anyone, Teixeira is a pretty safe bet; he stays healthy, and he's never had a bad season, never posting an OBP under .370 or slugging less than .514 since his rookie season. At the same time, he's never had that monster year either. The Yankees are paying MVP money for a very good player, but he still needs to take a step forward to be the impact player you expect to be attached to $20 million a year.
2008 When you look at the prices paid for free agents this winter, it becomes clear that Teixeira is going to be the next player to top $20 million in annual compensation. He'll hit the market at 28, presumably off of yet another .300/.400/.500 season, with a Gold Glove reputation-his range is declining, but his hands are still good-as the best free-agent hitter available. There's very little chance he won't test the market, which makes it imperative that the Braves choose wisely at the trading deadline if they're on the contention bubble.
2007 Seen in the context of his 2005 breakout, Teixeira`s 2006 was a disappointment. He had a very slow start, particularly in the power department; through the end of June he had numbers that looked like something out of the Travis Lee Catalog, with .273/.355/.438 rates and 8 home runs in 320 at-bats. He snapped back after that, batting .291/.394/.604 after the break with 24 home runs in 275 at bats. Teixeira felt that his swing had gotten out of whack, corrected the problem, and got back on the future-MVP track. PECOTA sees another year like this in his future, but he could blow that projection away if he takes better advantage of his friendly home park; he hit just .266/.336/.455 at home in 2006. If he can mate some approximation of 2005`s home numbers–.334/.411/.698, with 30 home runs–with 2006`s road numbers–.298/.406/.577 with 21 home runs–look out. His glove remains an asset no matter how he hits.
2006 How much better can he get? Teixeira played the full 162 games, posted career highs in his three major rate stats, and took home a well-deserved Gold Glove to boot. His 9.3 WARP1 was the second highest total in the league, behind only MVP Alex Rodriguez`s 10.2. He`ll be 26 in April, meaning his peak seasons are only just beginning. The contract he signed after the draft has expired, and his agent, Scott Boras, is reportedly driving for either a three-year deal (to cover Teixeira through his arbitration seasons) or a ten-year deal. The Rangers are hoping for a five- or six-year deal which would lock up one of the best young players in the league through age 30 or 31, just when he would likely start to decline. Now that he`s answered the questions about his defense, there are no holes in his game. He`s about to start a run as one of the league`s most dominant players.
2005 If the Rangers contend, Teixeira's a reasonable pick for AL MVP. They won't, so he's a reasonable bet to get a bunch of MVP votes, be more deserving than some guys who finish ahead of him, and generally do to baseballs what talk radio does to dignified restraint. Teixeira's a bomber, playing in a favorable park, with the broad base of offensive skills that portend great things. There are critics who think he's never going to defend very well. That may or may not be the case, but it's a little like criticizing Jerry Rice circa 1989 for not being a tremendous pass defender. Should we really care?
2004 There seems to be a small air of disappointment surrounding Teixeira's rookie year, if only becelow he didn't immediately hit like Mickey Mantle at his peak. But unrealistic expectations aside, Teixeira gave us no Torii reason to be disap- pointed, and plenty of reasons to be excited. For one thing, he showed sensational power for a 22-year-old. The only recent players to put up better Isolated Power (SLG minus BA) numbers at as young an age are Albert Pujola, Alex Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, Vladimir Guerrero, Andruw Jones, and Ken Griffey Jr. The two names immediately below Teixeira on the list are Eric Chavez and Troy Claus. Look for Teixeira make himself more at home with that company.

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