It all began so well for the Yankees and Mark Teixeira. Tex was the secret sauce in the 2009 season. Everyone knew the Yankees were going after pitching. But no one realized that Brian Cashman was also stealthy keeping tabs on Tex. When his contract negotiations with the Red Sox stalled the Yankees swooped in and picked him up. It was the difference maker in the 2009 Championship, adding that big bat to the lineup on top of the elite pitching. For one season it went by the script. In 2009 Tex had a .402 wOBA and led the American League in homers with 39 and RBI with 122. Cracks began to appear in 2010. Tex's annual season opening slump was deeper and longer than it had ever been before. He was ice cold for the entire first half of the season. He turned lava hot in July and August, which was enough to give Tex respectable season numbers, but it wasn't enough to have him produce at the level everyone expected. In 2011 Tex saw a power resurgence, but his OBP fell to .341 and despite the extra homers his 2011 wOBA was .361, less than the .369 he put up in 2010. 2012 was Mark's worst season in baseball. He managed career lows in games (123), homers (24) and wOBA (.345).
Yankee fans have lowered their expectations surrounding Tex's performance. He's no longer viewed as statue in monument park in waiting. But he's still a valuable baseball player, especially when healthy. Mark will turn only 33 next year, and he's got years left on his mega-deal. On a team where offense means Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson it has become easy to overlook Mark Teixeira, but if Tex comes back healthy and gives the Yankees a 30 homer season, he could be the difference maker in more than a few games, the player the opposing team didn't prepare for. Tex has let Yankee fans down before, but simply a full year of Tex, even at last year's diminished production, represents improved value.