Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Portrait of an assassin (reposted)

IIATMS note: This is a repost of something originally posted on 12/4/08. I have decided to repost it due to its relevance given today's news. There's a similar article in SI.com on the subject out as well.


There's a worthwhile read today about Mark Teixeira. In short, he comes across as a calm, stone-cold assassin. And that's not meant as an insult. This is a guy with a plan, an approach, a sense of utter coolness. One of many differences between the successful Yankee teams of recent vintage and the successful RedSox teams is their personality.

Yanks have been called "corporate", "boring", "methodical". The Sox are "dirt dogs", "scrappy", fun-loving". Both are true yet both have their exceptions. And Teixeira would clearly fit snugly in the Yanks clubhouse as he has those same traits. Again, that's not a knock, it's just his personality.
Tex, as he is known, fits the profile of the modern superstar -- polished and savvy, mindful of his image as well as his OPS. He was switch-hitting in elementary school, was a member of the National Honor Society at Mount St. Joseph High in Baltimore, went to Georgia Tech and became an assistant player representative in only his second major league season. When he walks into the clubhouse, dressed in slacks and a button-down shirt, the first thing he does is turn off his cellphone so he is not distracted and does not bother anyone else. He says he has a "plan for every day," which requires that he eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before each game and scarf down a Power Bar in the middle innings. "Some people would call me obsessive compulsive," Teixeira says, "but I take my job very seriously and my preparation very seriously. I am not the kind of guy who goes out at night and parties."
If you ask me, I'd take a team of 10 of these guys. Boring assassins. Might not be as much fun as Manny leaving to take a leak in the Monster. More ARod than Manny. I want guys who are committed to themselves and their team first. I never want to question a player's committment. That's what makes Jeter "Jeter"; we know he's going to go all out every day. We don't have to wonder if Jeter will show up or not. We don't have to wonder if Jeter will beg his way out of the lineup.

Worried about his presence and "clutchness"?
When the Angels acquired Teixeira from Atlanta on July 29, they were 11 1/2 games up in the American League West, and some players worried that a new addition would upset clubhouse chemistry. To the contrary, Teixeira led the Angels in every major offensive category after the trade and they set a franchise record for wins (100), with Teixeira showing a free-swinging team how to work deep into counts.
At the All-Star break, the Angels ranked 29th in walks. In the second half they ranked 21st. "
He was the perfect guy for their lineup," says Mariners pitcher Jarrod Washburn. The Angels lost to the Red Sox in the first round of the playoffs, but not because of Teixeira. He batted .467 with a .550 on-base percentage in his first postseason series.
If the Yanks are unable to sign Sabathia, I would be totally comfortable with them landing Teix.


Rick said...

J-Even if we sign CC, we should still go after him. Swisher is not the answer at first base.

Jason @ IIATMS said...

Rick: There's gotta be a ceiling somewhere, even for the Yanks. That's a boatload of dollars and they wouldn't even be done.

Not that I wouldn't mind seeing both, mind you...

Rick said...

I know, I'm just spoiled. How about CC and Manny. Now that would be interesting. I am worried about the outfield as well as pitching.

Jason @ IIATMS said...

If Manny is in pinstripes, I am going to have to take a seriously long look in the mirror to make sure I am still a fan. He's everything we don't need:
1) wrong side of 35 (much less 30)
2) likely excessively overpriced
3) horrible defender
4) headcase

We've already got a glut of OF before another corner OF.

Of course, if we get Teix, that pushes Swisher to the OF, making that glut worse. If that does happen, I can see a trade for a one year rental of Matsui or Damon for some team. That limited committment will be appealing in this market methinks.

Oh Billy said...

I will not be happy with an outfield of Nady, Gartner/Melky, Damon with Matsui the DH. How about bringing back Mr. Clear Cream Giambi as FT DH and trade Melky.

Steve said...

People laugh at me when I say this but, in my opinion, I think Tex is more valuable than CC. Would I like CC over Tex if the choice were either/or? Yes.
Something about CC doesn't click with me. He's a very good pitcher yeah, but he has an under .500 record vs. AL East team(I think I'm not 100% sure on the figure) and has pitched in fairly light hitting divisions.
Tex to me, being an everyday player and a solid defensive 1B brings something extra that CC doesn't.
As for the logjam that Tex might cause, easy solution: trade Melky for a bag of balls or something equivalent and keep Gardner.

Jason @ IIATMS said...

Hey, if there was a market for Melky, I suspect he'd be gone by now. But hearing how low the market rates for OF are these days, we might not be able to get that bag of balls.

Rick N said...

Hi Steve - Good comments about Tex. Yanks still need a CC type number 1 and like I said in a previous blog, let's get both..