2016 Statistics: .204/.292/.362, 15 HR, 44 RBI, 2 SB, 438 PA
2017 Roster Status: Retired
Headed into 2016, just about everyone knew that it would be Mark Teixeira’s last year as a Yankee. With his contract set to expire after the season ended, and Greg Bird waiting in the wings, it appeared that Tex would have to continue his career elsewhere. Sadly, Tex wasn’t able to replicate his terrific 2015 season and ended up announcing his retirement instead.
Tex struggled with injuries ever since the 2013 wrist injury that kept him out of the majority of the season. He put up the worst numbers of his career (at that point) in 2014, and had to have several cortisone shots to play. After two years of struggles, his 2015 performance came seemingly out of nowhere. Teixeira finished the 2015 season batting .255/.357/.548 with 31 home runs (the most he had hit since 2011). His season was cut short by several weeks due to a fractured shin, but the injury healed over the offseason and he was ready to go by the time spring training started.
No one knew what to expect from Tex in 2016, but I don’t think anyone imagined that he would drop off so drastically. In the first half of the season he hit a measly .193, and that number improved slightly to .219 in the second half. Notably, Tex missed time with neck spasms in May, and that was a continual issue throughout the rest of the season. He also went on the disabled list in June with an articular cartilage tear in his right knee that may require surgery at some point. It was revealed that because of Teixeira’s ailments, it takes roughly two extra hours of stretching and therapy to get his body ready to play in just one game.
On August 5th, Tex announced that he would retire from the sport after the 2016 season wrapped up. Despite the injuries, this came as somewhat of a surprise, especially considering the optimism that he was feeling in February when he said he hoped to play for several more years (and hoped to return to the Yankees, too). Considering his lingering injuries, the decision makes sense, but it is unfortunate that his final season ended up being the worst of his career.
Although his bat left something to be desired for much of the season, and some people wished that he would have retired mid-season like Alex Rodriguez, Tex did have a few good moments. In July he hit the 400th and 401st home runs of his career in one game against the Padres. On that day he helped the Yankees win the game and avoid the sweep, and he became the fifth switch-hitter with at least 400 home runs.
Tex saved his best moments of the season for the end of September. On September 26th, Tex mashed a game-tying home run in the ninth against Toronto, and added an uncharacteristic bat flip. Tex hilariously yelled “blown save!” in the dugout, and the Yankees went on to win the game.
Just two days later, Teixeira was back at it again. This time hitting a walk-off grand slam off of Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly. The win prevented the Yankees from being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs (although that would later happen anyway), and it was the 12th grand slam of his career. It was one of the most exciting moments of the season, especially because it came against the Red Sox. Tex may have had a terrible season overall, but at least he played well in the last few games of his career.