Mark Teixeira to Call it a Career at the Conclusion of the Year

This column was originally published on Outside Pitch MLB. 

During Spring Training, Mark Teixeira vowed to play five more MLB seasons.

Five months later, it appears that he’s had a change of heart.

Early Friday morning, multiple reports came out stating that the New York Yankees first baseman would retire at the conclusion of the 2016 season. A press conference with the official announcement is scheduled to take place at some point on Friday afternoon.

Teixeira, a 14-year veteran of the game, also suited up for the Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim throughout his career. He’s spent a career-long eight seasons in pinstripes, however, and that is where he will be remembered most.

Inking an eight-year, $180 million contract with the Yankees before the 2009 season, Teixeira was the icing on the cake in an offseason spending spree that saw the Evil Empire sign starters CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett to multi-million dollar deals as well.

That was money well spent. The trio was a huge addition to the core of the Yankees, as the franchise opened up their new Yankee Stadium with a World Series victory, the organization’s first since the year 2000.

And Teixeira had a huge part in that accomplishment. Batting in the three hole all season long, he slashed an impressive .292/.383/.565 with 39 home runs and 122 runs batted in (both career highs), good for an All-Star appearance, a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger and finishing second in MVP voting.

As is the case with most long-term contracts, Teixeira lived up to the hype over the first four seasons of his deal. Including the aforementioned 2009 campaign, the first baseman combined to hit to the tune of .262 while averaging 34 home runs, 106 RBI, 33 doubles and an OPS of .859 up until 2012. Over that span, Teixeira also captured three Gold Gloves.

But just like there are highs in long-term contracts, there are certainly lows. Teixeira wasn’t exempt from them.

Over the second half of the deal, Teixeira was known for being injury prone instead of his presence on the field. He played in just 15 games in 2013, where he hit just .151. 2014 wasn’t much better, despite playing in 123 games. While Teixeira’s power numbers were still there (22 home runs, 62 RBI), his .216 average was a far cry from his .269 career clip.

2015, however, was a renaissance season for Teixeira.

Before a foul ball broke a bone in his leg, he was back to his youthful form. At age 35, Teixeira raised his batting average to a viable .255 while being a massive power threat, belting 31 home runs – the most in four years – while chipping in 79 RBI in 111 games. He was a driving force behind the team’s Wild Card appearance. But with him on the sidelines by the time the one game playoff came around, the Yankees didn’t have much of a shot.

Unfortunately, this year hasn’t gone as planned — for Teixeira or the Yankees.

Littered with injuries and ineffectiveness, he has been batting below the Mendoza Line all season long (.198) while seeing his power numbers dip drastically (.340 SLG%). He’s also lost playing time to young upstart Rob Refsnyder along the way.

Teixeira didn’t plan for his career to end this way. But that’s nothing for him to be ashamed of. He hasn’t only reached records within the illustrious Yankees organization, but in MLB history as well.

In the Bronx Bombers record books, Teixeira ranks in the top five in categories including doubles, home runs, walks and slugging percentage. That’s nothing to scoff at, as the list also features some players you may have heard of: Lou Gehrig, Chris Chambliss, Joe Pepitone and Tino Martinez.

He’s also seventh amongst active players in home runs (404) and ninth in RBI (1,281).

And if you don’t think those numbers are enough, let Jon Morosi tell you how good Teixeira really is.

Is he Cooperstown-bound? Probably not.

But Teixeira has had a proud career. He’s one of the greatest defensive first basemen of this generation and was always a power threat from either side of the plate. And most importantly to Yankees fans, he helped bring the franchise their 27th World Series Championship.

For that, he will always be remembered fondly in pinstripes.

Dan Federico is the Editor in Chief 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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