Hot Stove Report: Should The Yankees Keep Teixeira In Pinstripes For 2017?

This article was originally published on Outside Pitch MLB

Just because the 2016 season has yet to start doesn’t mean we can’t look ahead to 2017.

The New York Yankees believed they had a full proof plan for this year and beyond. Despite mounting injuries – including a broken leg that derailed an MVP-like campaign in 2015 – Mark Teixeira is the man for the job at first base in 2016. And that won’t change, as long as the veteran remains healthy.

If he didnt, however, the back up plan was strong. After Teixeira suffered the injury in August, top prospect Greg Bird made his way to the big leagues, and proved to be the heir apparent to the position once Teixeira’s contract expires at the end of this season.

That, too, was the plan for this year. Give Bird regular at-bats in Triple-A, and if he is needed in the majors, he would slide into the lineup rather seamlessly. Unfortunately, that plan was thwarted due to shoulder surgery, sidelining the 23-year old for the duration of this season.

That surgery may impact the Yankees this season. With Bird out, the emergency options are Dustin AckleyBrian McCann and, if need be, Alex Rodriguez; not bad replacements, but certainly not capable of what Teixeira provides to the team.

Sure, many believe – and it could very well end up materializing – that Bird will, in fact, be the Yankees starter after this season. However, if it’s up to Teixeira, that won’t happen.

Earlier this week, Teixeira told reporters during Spring Training that he doesn’t only want to play five more years, but he also wants to spend them in pinstripes. Why would team brass even consider that? Not only has the incumbent first baseman struggled to stay on the field, but Bird hit .261/.343/.529 with 11 home runs and 31 runs batted in over 46 games.

Well, for one, it’s the shoulder injury.

Although fans clamored to have Bird replace Teixeira this season, the fact is he wasn’t even going to be on the Opening Day roster. And that was for good measure; sure, he showed that he has the skills to take over the first base job one day – however, sitting on the big league pine five days a week wasn’t going to help his development. Instead, Bird could’ve had everyday at-bats in Triple-A to further hone his craft. While he is expected to return to 100%, it isn’t a guarantee. And why would you want to promote someone to the majors after missing an entire season?

Other than Bird’s injury, Teixeira himself will make a case to remain with the Yankees.

After playing in no less than 156 games from 2009-2011, Teixeira was active in 261 games (including just 15 in 2013) out of a possible 489 from 2012-2014. However, the 35-year old entered 2015 with a new diet and workout regime, and believed he would return to form – and that he did. Earning his way to the All Star team, Teixeira hit .255 with 31 home runs, 22 doubles, 79 RBI and a .548 slugging percentage in 111 games. And although he did continue the trend of getting injured, a foul ball off of his shin was a fluke more than anything else. Although the future can’t be predicted, don’t be surprised if Teixeira has similar numbers this year.

Will Teixeira be on the Yankees five years from now? I don’t think so. But it wouldn’t be a shock if he re-signs for one year to help give Bird a chance to slowly return to form without facing the pressures of the major leagues. Not only would it not be a shock, but it may be the best situation for all parties involved.

Dan Federico is the Managing Editor and Staff Writer for Outside Pitch MLB. You can follow and interact with him on Twitter or contact him via email here

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