Think Mark Teixeira is overpaid? He agrees with you.
You might have missed it in the avalanche of Super Bowl preview coverage, but Dan Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal turned in a terrific story with Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, one in which Teixeira spoke candidly about his future and the relentless demands of living up to an eight-year, $180 million contract.
You don’t hear this unvarnished brand of speech too often from professional athletes, but Teixeira provided a very honest assessment of where he stands, and he hasn’t shied away. At last night’s Yankees charity event in Times Square, Teixeira even took a moment on stage to laud Barbarisi’s work to the audience.
In short, Teixeira acknowledges that there isn’t much he can do on the field that will make a $22.5 million annual salary seem like it makes sense.
“I have no problem with anybody in New York, any fan, saying you’re overpaid. Because I am,” Teixeira said. “We all are.”
“Agents are probably going to hate me for saying it,” he continued. “You’re not very valuable when you’re making $20 million. When you’re Mike Trout, making the minimum, you are crazy valuable. My first six years, before I was a free agent, I was very valuable. But there’s nothing you can do that can justify a $20 million contract.”
As he approaches age 33, Teixeira seems to have come to terms with the realization that his production levels are not going to magically improve as time goes on. He said that he’s on the backside of his career and doesn’t want to play 10 more years; he just wants five or six good ones.
“I looked at the first six or seven years of my career, I was in my 20s, it was easy,” Teixeira said. “I wasn’t searching for the right formula. To think that I’m going to get remarkably better, as I get older and breaking down a little bit more, it’s not going to happen … Maybe I’m slowing down a tick. Look, I’m not going to play forever. Eventually you start, I don’t want to say declining, but it gets harder and harder to put up 30 [homers] and 100 [RBI],” Teixeira said.
In the face of a sinking batting average, Teixeira seems to have decided that he must focus on those proud, round numbers – 30 and 100 – and play to the in-house advantages provided by Yankee Stadium. That is, he should embrace the short porch, forget about hitting against whatever defensive shifts teams employ and focus on impacting the baseball with authority.
“You can’t make everybody happy no matter what. I need to concentrate on what I do well. And what I do well is hitting home runs, driving in a lot of runs, and playing great defense,” Teixeira said.