Look, As a fan from the outside looking in, when you think about Mark Teixeira, you think he starts slow and finishes hot. That's a fact. For years, this guy always had horrendous Aprils and slowly but surely was red hot by July. So what's the problem? That's the way his body and mind work. Does it stink? Alittle. Sure all Yankee fans want Tex to kick some ass early and stay that way... after all, we're paying him an awful lot of money. But let's face it, that's the reality we're in, and no one is terribly upset it. We just keep it in the back of our minds and when Tex's hot streak comes, we forget about it again until the next year's spring training. The solution? Kevin Long. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Let's take a look at 2009. Mark started off slow, but ended with great numbers, so great, you didn't even notice the slow start. He batted .292, had 39 home runs and 122 RBI's. To me, that looks terrific.
In 2010, Mark struggled. OK, fair enough, players struggle sometimes. It's baseball. It's life. Even sports writer's struggle sometimes, like this article from Tom Verducci, it's terrible. My point? You get back up and do it again, and better yourself next time.
But back to my point, In 2010, Mark batted .256 AVG, 32 home runs, and 108 RBI's. For an average player, the batting average isn't great, but those home run and RBI's are nice.
Now, one thing IS important. Strikeout total. Mark's striking out a lot more. Early in his career, he struck out over 100 times the first 5 seasons of his career, that dropped by to under 100 in 2008 and then it rose again when he joined the Yankees, 114 in 2009, 122 in 2010. That tells me he's either not seeing the ball great, and/or mechanics are an issue, but that's where Kevin Long comes in, like I said earlier. That's why Kevin's there Tom. You don't just tell a veteran he needs to change his swing one day and make a drastic change. You need to watch him consistently, take notes on the bad, and approach and fix the problem. Guess what, that's what Kevin Long is about to do.
Look, every player has a bad season, Jeter, A-Rod... it happens, but Mark Teixeira is not on the decline. The dude is 31 years old. Is this what we're doing now? A bad season equals a decline? Verducci's a smart guy, but I don't buy it.Verducci recently spoke with Kevin Long about Teixeira. Kevin Long said he'll be working with Tex on his mechanics and slow starts. OK, Tom, again, that's obvious, a hitting coach will usually work with a player who sucks the year before, even Jeter's doing that. The fear, according to Mr. Verducci, is that if Teixeira fails to make these adjustments there is a real danger that his age will catch up with him and he’ll become the next Jason Giambi. OMG. Mark Teixeira is not going to end up another Jason Giambi. We are comparing to totally different players.
- Jason Giambi was a terrible first baseman and was signed strictly to hit home runs. Mark Teixeira is a Gold Glove winner and athletic. He not only hits home runs, he hits singles and doubles and knocks in runs regularly.
- Jason Giambi was an Oakland Athletics big shot who dabbled in performance enhancing drugs and probably damaged his body doing it, and broke down like a Pinto on I-95... fast. Mark Teixeira is a clean cut ball player who prides himself on never touching the stuff. The dude is all man and no bullshit.
My point to all this? It's not to slam Verducci believe it or not, it's to tell the Yankees fans, don't worry. Buy your tickets, buy your number 25 pinstripe jersey and keep rooting for Mark Teixeira. Nothings wrong with him. Nothing. It's only a bump in the road.
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