This is the last year of Mark Teixeira's contract and it will be his last as part of the Yankees organization. After several years of disappointment, we were all ready for his eight-year, $180 million contract to end. His batting average dropped, his health deteriorated, and finally his wrist gave out, but a surprise rejuvenation in 2015 made things a lot less clear. However, the Yankees are still going to let him walk after the season, no matter how well he does in 2016.
Despite Teixeira's turnaround, the Yankees are counting down the days until his contract is up and he's no longer on their books. He will take $23 million with him in a year the Yankees will have some serious payroll space to play with. Sure, there won't be much to buy out there on the open market next year, so it's easy to see how people could expect Tex to return on a much shorter, more reasonable deal. However, it's important to keep in mind that without the 2015 season, no one would be considering his return right now and to suddenly change course, even with a better Teixeira, would go against everything the Yankees are currently doing.
The Yankees have Greg Bird waiting to take over the starting first baseman job and the organization seems to be ready for him to step up. They could easily trade Bird to improve the team elsewhere and then resign themselves to either re-signing Teixeira or going after another first baseman, but their insistence to not include him in any trades makes it clear that they think he will be an important part of the franchise's future, even if his role in 2016 is unclear. He will only cost the MLB minimum, so it would allow all the money from Tex and Carlos Beltran to be saved for new additions to the team.
The Yankees have also never been very interested in re-upping with their outgoing free agents. Tino Martinez and Jason Giambi were both sent packing after their deals were up. Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, David Robertson, Bobby Abreu, among others, didn't receive much interest from the Yankees. Teixeira won't receive any special attention next offseason either.
Even if they did want to bring Teixeira back, where would he play with Alex Rodriguez still around? It could make sense to have Teixeira and Bird split time between first and DH, but A-Rod is still under contract for $42 million over the next two years. He isn't going anywhere because it would make absolutely no sense to release him and re-sign Tex to another expensive deal. As useful as his bat and glove might still be, 2016 will be the last year Mark Teixeira spends with the Yankees.
At the end of the season, the Yankees can offer him a qualifying offer and he will go on his way to find a multi-year deal somewhere else. He will be 37 in 2017, and if his defense remains strong, he could easily find another two-year contract. The Blue Jays, Cardinals, Indians, Mariners, Pirates, Rangers, Red Sox, and Twins are all teams without much in the way of a future at first base. Teixeira will be just fine without the Yankees and the Yankees are in good hands without Texieira. Now let's just hope he makes 2016 a good one.