Mark Teixeira has his work cut out for him next season. The last thing he should want to do is put together yet another subpar campaign.
If he does, he stands to draw comparisons to his teammate, Alex Rodriguez—and, trust me, those aren't going to be comparisons to Rodriguez's glory days.
Teixeira has regressed every season since his first season in pinstripes. In 2009, he finished second in AL MVP voting by hitting 39 home runs, driving in 122 and hitting .292/.383/.565.
In 2010, his production slipped just a little. His 33 home runs and 108 RBI were impressive, but his line of .256/.365/.481 represented a vast decrease from 2009.
Then, in 2011, he upped his home runs back to 39 and his RBI total to 111, but his average dropped down to .248.
In just 123 games last season, Teixeira hit only 24 home runs with 84 RBI and a line of .251/.332/.475.
The numbers he put up in his first season with the team was exactly the type of production the New York Yankees expected when they signed him to that massive eight-year, $180 million contract.
Now, if he keeps putting up the numbers he has in the past two seasons, he'll turn into the next obnoxiously overpaid former superstar on the roster.
The most notorious of those former stars, Rodriguez, is a shell of his former self at this point in his career.
The past two seasons have been extremely disappointing, as he's hit a total of just 34 home runs and drove in 119. Those used to be numbers that he'd reach before the month of September of a single season.
Instead, Rodriguez has become no more than a complementary player and chronic headache for the Yankees and their fans.
The current differences between the two stars are their health and defensive capabilities.
Rodriguez hasn't been healthy the past two seasons, while Teixiera only missed 39 games last season.
Teixeira is also a perennial Gold Glover at first base. Rodriguez, while a good defensive third baseman, doesn't stay healthy enough to allow him to perform as well as he can in the field.
In the end, though, defense doesn't matter in New York.
The Yankees need Teixeira to live up to his contract. They've become all too familiar with under-performing, highly paid stars and do not want to add another to the list.
If Teixeira doesn't pick it up next season, though, they'll be forced to.
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