Cleat Geeks

The Pinstripe Post; Who plays first when Mark Teixeira returns?

The New York Yankees have run into an issue this year with a number of large contracts presenting a block on younger talent. Nobody wants to have some of the largest contracts in baseball being bench deadweight, which results in people being forced into the lineup. At the same time, a team can’t win if the large contracts are struggling. Inevitably, this is the problem that arises with a number of high paid veterans.MarkTeixeira

Which is better? Play struggling veterans because their contracts shouldn’t be benched or bench the struggling big money veterans for the betterment of the team?

In the case of Mark Teixeira, he is batting .180 on the year with 167 at-bats in 48 games. Of his thirty hits to date, only five were doubles and three were home runs. In his tenure with the Yankees, he’s largely struggled to remain healthy and put up strong numbers.

Then he got injured, again. As unfortunate as it is for Teixeira, it did give the Yankees a chance to debut some of their backup options.

RobRefsnyderRob Refsnyder, who has been shuffled between the bench and the minors, has enjoyed some increased gameplay since Teixeira has been out. A common complaint among Yankees fans to that point had been the lack of use for him. His time at first base though has so far been met with positive reviews, with infield coordinator Joe Espada summing it up with “good stuff.

Then there’s Chris Parmelee, who was signed to a minor league contract during spring training after spending a few seasons with the Minnesota Twins. In his starting debut, Parmelee made his own contribution to a 12-6 offensive victory by hitting two home runs.

Developing viable backups and younger solutions is a plus right now. The Yankees long have been known for the team that buys valuable names at the cost of young talent, which often backfires. Though with both players performing well now, it presents manager Joe Girardi with a dilemma regarding how to play them. A decision that recently became even more complicated.ChrisParmelee

After expecting Teixeira to be out significantly longer, news has come that the veteran first baseman is now going to try avoiding surgery and returning sooner. If and when Teixeira does come back this season, do the Yankees give him the starting first base position? There is a good amount of money being written out to his name. Who wants to pay a benchwarmer that kind of money?

Inevitably, the Yankees need to begin looking at the longterm regarding the situation. Playing Teixeira because of his contract, like they’ve done with other struggling veterans, would be a great mistake. If Parmelee and Refsnyder continue to impress, the Yankees need to consider their longterm priorities. Developing these two further so they can have a greater contribution is the right solution.

If Teixeira does return this season, it’s likely in the Yankees best interest to keep him on the bench.

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