If conventional wisdom is both conventional and wise, then hindsight is indeed 20/20. Considering hindsight gives you optic into the validity of decisions made in the past with perfect vision, then all we would need to understand the eight year, $175-$185 million dollar offer that may (or may not) be in front of Mark Teixeira right now is knowledge of his future production.
So if you will, suspend disbelief and journey with me for a second to 2015, eight years after Mark Teixeira agreed to an eight year, $185 million dollar contract with the Boston Red Sox.
While we all know that the measure of success in Boston is no longer limited to the domain of personal achievement, the Red Sox organization has set the bar for achievement in championship hardware only, my crystal ball can’t see the breadth of all that is to come. Given it’s limitations, we’ll have to focus our scrying into the future to the performance of Teixeira himself.
The chart below shows Teixeira’s future projections by the team at Baseball Prospectus with an eighth year added at the end to round out the picture. After totaling those statistics, which I believe to be very fair and often more conservative than aggressive by nature, and assuming he didn’t play another game with the Boston Red Sox, I placed Teixeira in context with the all time franchise leaders in each category
With a career line in a Red Sox uniform of .288/.388/.525 with 226 home runs and 769 runs batted in, Teixeira would go down as one of the top 15 hitters in Boston Red Sox franchise history.
Of all the names surrounding Mark Teixeira, the one that I thought a most apt comparison, in terms of service time, contract, and performance was none other than Manny Ramirez.
Manny Ramirez will no doubt go down as one of the best hitters ever to don a Red Sox uniform. He also played with the Red Sox for most of eight seasons after also signing as a high ticket free agent. Manny’s total salary over his eight years with the Sox was just shy of $148 million dollars. Given the rate of inflation of contracts, it’s likely a fairly similar contextual contract value to Teixeira’s $185 million.
I think we would all agree that even despite his eccentricities, his lack of effort at times, and his defensive liability, that Manny Ramirez’s paychecks were dollars well spent by the organization.
Looking at what Baseball Prospectus has in front of Mark Teixeira (note that these forecasts do not take Fenway Park into account), I find it hard to believe that anyone could make a case that an investment in Mark Teixeira, who aside from the flexibility of being a pinch hitter is also a gold glove fielder, wouldn’t be looked on as favorably.
Only time will tell (a) if Teixeira and the Red Sox fates are indeed intertwined and (b) if his actual performance will approximate the forecasts included here, but the context of Teixeira’s potential place among the mantle of the greatest hitters to have ever worn the Red Sox uniform certainly makes the prospect of that happening something to hope for.