2015 Statistics: 111 G, .255/.357/.548, 31 HR, 79 RBI, 143 wRC+
2016 Contract Status: Signed through 2016, $22.5 million left on his contract
Heading into the 2015 season, Mark Teixeira was one of many players that the Yankees hoped would have a comeback year at the plate. He hit really well during the first year or two of his contract with the Yankees, but his production dropped over the past few seasons, especially after he suffered a wrist injury. Prior to the start of the 2013 season, Tex was taking batting practice at the World Baseball Classic when he suffered a tear in the tendon sheath of his right wrist. He only made it into 15 games that year before eventually having season-ending wrist surgery. Despite the fact that he wrapped up the wrist rehab before spring training started, Teixeira's wrist bothered him throughout all of 2014. He had to have three cortisone injections to handle the pain, and he hit just .216/.313/.398 with 22 home runs, the lowest total of his career. There was some concern that Tex would never be able to hit like he had before, but his 2015 season ended up being one of his best as a Yankee.
Last offseason, Teixeira attributed some of his struggles to the fact that his wrist rehab had hampered his workout routine. He was determined to get stronger in 2015, so he implemented a full offseason training program, including a diet that eliminated dairy, sugar and gluten. Tex has been a slow starter in the past, but he really hit the ground running this year, slugging .608 with 8 home runs in the month of April. He's drawn criticism for not putting in enough effort to beat the shift, but he showed up with a new plan this year: "hit more home runs, hit more doubles and walk more." Somehow, this plan was able to work for him. His batting average wasn't pretty, but he finished the season with 31 home runs, which is the most he has hit since 2011. Tex also improved as the season went on, slashing .333/.422/.724 with 9 home runs in July. Unfortunately, a fluke injury ended his season early. He fouled a ball off his shin in mid-August. It was diagnosed as a deep bone bruise, and he sat on the bench for a few weeks, and even played a little bit before he was re-evaluated and diagnosed with a fracture.
Teixeira's leg should be healed by the time spring training rolls around and it appears that Tex will be the Yankees' starting first baseman next year. He has a full no-trade clause in his contract and it's doubtful that any team would want to take on the $22.5 million left on his contract anyway. Greg Bird did a great job filling in for Teixeira when he was on the disabled list, but it's not clear if there will be room for him on the roster as things currently stand. Here's hoping that Teixeira can duplicate his 2015 numbers (minus the injury) in his final year with the team before Bird takes over.