The Yankees have not relied on Mark Teixeira so far this year, but they were planning on his production in the second half. The Yankees will need good health and luck to remain in the pennant race.
The good news about the Mark Teixeira injury is that the Yankees have managed to be within two and a half games of first place and currently cling to the second wild card spot without any production from Teixeira this season. The bad news about the Teixeira injury is everything else. The Yankees rank 21st in home runs from the first base position with 11, 27th in average at .221, 28th in On-Base Percentage at .280, and 20th in Slugging Percentage at .411 with Lyle Overbay claiming the bulk of the at bats. Yankee first basemen have performed just below replacement level in 2013.
Mark Teixeira did not need to be a world beater upon his return to greatly improve the team’s fortunes over the second half. The guy who hit .251/.332/.475 with solid defense last year would have been a major step up from the guys who have manned the position so far this year.
Losing Teixeira impacts more than just first base. As a switch hitter, Teixeira did not require a platoon-mate, saving a roster spot for the bullpen, a more important defensive position, or a Designated Hitter-only player like Travis Hafner. Yankee first basemen have only hit .214 with two home runs against lefties this season.
Teixeira’s season-ending surgery is not devastating for the Yankees’ playoff chances this year, but the loss should not be diminished just because he did not contribute thus far. Reinforcements are hopefully on the way with Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Curtis Granderson all expected to play again this year. Unfortunately, with the way the race for the AL East and the two wild cards is shaping up, one or two games will likely determine whether the Yankees make the playoffs. Teixeira could have been that factor that pushed the Yankees over the top. The Yankees will need good health and a decent amount of luck to contend the rest of this season. With an aging roster, good health is no easy feat. Do you feel lucky?