Mark Teixeira is hurt again. Surprise, if you didn't see that coming. When it was announced that Greg Bird would miss the year with shoulder surgery, it was imperative that Teixeira step up and be a reliable presence in the lineup all year because there really wasn't any other option at that point. Needless to say, after hitting .255/.357/.548 with 31 home runs in 2015, Tex has fallen back to his old unreliable self and his inability to produce, or even stay on the field, will be this team's undoing.
He's already missed some time with various ailments, but just as soon as backup first baseman Dustin Ackley tears his shoulder up and is out for the year, Teixeira falls too. He left last night's game with an injury, and now he is going on the disabled list with torn cartilage in his knee. Remember in 2013, when Teixeira missed almost the entire year, and Lyle Overbay somehow managed to be the team's starting first baseman? We've officially reached that territory now that Chris Parmelee is being called up.
Even after hitting .180/.271/.263 with three home runs this season, the Yankees can't afford to lose him for any amount of time, if only just for his glove. They needed him to step up, perform, and stay healthy now that they no longer have viable backup. But of course that's not what is happens. They will also likely use Austin Romine, Rob Refsnyder, and Chase Headley to fill in at first base too, but the Yankees can't expect for any of those three to fill in long-term. Romine actually can't because right now Brian McCann is out with an injured elbow, and Gary Sanchez has a broken thumb. It's hard to ask Refsnyder to fill in because he's been moved around so often, and he hasn't seemed to master any of his positions. If Headley has to play first, it means Ronald Torreyes will be in the lineup every day.
Now that Teixeira is out, the Yankees are running out of legitimate options, but where can they find an alternative? Brian Cashman has shown that he does not make deals with his back against the wall, so don't expect a major trade for another first baseman. Maybe they pick up someone off waivers. Internal options include Nick Swisher, who despite his decent start, has hit only .192/.198/.263 since the beginning of May. Parmelee, despite his decent numbers in Scranton, owns .245/.311/.396 batting line over five MLB seasons. Once again, the first base situation is a disaster when Teixeira is nowhere to be found, and it's time for the team to stop trying to rely on him.
After his stellar 2015, people spoke about how it would be tough to let Teixeira go at the end of the 2016 season, but his performance up to this point should be a reminder that last year was a fluke. This is who he really is, and in a matter of months, the team will be free of him. He's a great defender and a game-changing bat when he's right, but he has shown that it's a bad idea to have to rely on him, especially when the DH spot is already being used full-time.
It's too bad that Bird won't have a chance to play this year, because that's really the only reason to consider Tex's return. Thankfully, there are more than enough free agent first basemen on the market who should be able to stay on the field longer, that they don't need to go back to Teixeira if Bird isn't ready to go at the start of 2017. Who knows how long Tex will be out, for all we know his season is over. For all we know, we may never see him again. I wouldn't be surprised, and I think it's time to say goodbye.