(This is something I hadn’t planned on writing about today, but it was very likely going to be written about eventually.)
To put it plainly, I don’t like Mark Teixeira, which has never had anything to do with his on-the-field performance.
He is a good baseball player, but also an incredible tool, and I aim to tell you why.
Teixeira was originally drafted by the Red Sox in 1998, but elected to go to Georgia Tech instead. Three years later he was drafted by the Rangers with the 5th overall pick and, with the help of super-agent Scott Boras, held the organization hostage until they agreed to give him a contract for $9.5MM/4y.
This is a personal gripe I have with the Major League system, that someone who isn’t even in the system can strong-arm a team into paying him 5x league minimum* before he’s even worn their uniform.
It should always be a red flag, in my mind, that a high-pick, sub-rookie already thinks** so highly of himself and comes in with those sorts of demands.
(A similar thing happened two years ago with P Matt Purke, who walked away from the table, went to TCU, and has been watching his stock skyrocket ever since.)
But Teixeira tore through the minors and earned his money, performing at or above expectations while he was in Texas.
In July 2007, he was traded to Atlanta, but not before he burned bridges with the organization and the fans.
Before he left, Teixeira made it very clear that he didn’t like his situation in Arlington. He complained that the team was no good, turned down $140MM/8y contract, and got into it with the newly hired manager, Ron Washington.
Of course, to ask Teixeira, there never was any friction with Wash, even though it has been well documented to the contrary.
(According to what I have read, part of the problem may have been that Washington asked him not to swing so freely. It may have also had something to do with Wash smoking in the clubhouse and using profanity, the latter of which may have insulted Teixeira’s devoutly Christian sensibilities.)
Not only was there no friction, but it was 3 whole seasons ago, so Teixeira wouldn’t remember even if there was. I mean, who can remember things that happened to them 3 minutes ago, let alone 3 years?
(It might also be that Mark just can’t be bothered to remember the little people in his big, important, overpaid Yankee brain.)
Ultimately, it didn’t matter, because he was traded to Atlanta and then Anaheim and had helped the Rangers jump start their road to rebuilding.
Of course, that can’t be the end of the story, can it?
After Teixeira’s time in Anaheim was up, he hit the free agent market and was courted by the usual suspects — the Yanks, Sox, and Angels — as well as some dark horses — the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles.
Why the Nats and Orioles exactly?
According to legend, Teixeira grew up in Maryland, was an Oriole fan in his youth, and had hinted repeatedly that he would love to bring a championship home to Camden Yards***. So those teams jumped into the mix, taking him at his word and making significant offers.
After a big show, song and dance, and a sizable ego-stroking, he took the money from the Yankees and brought another championship to them instead. [Meanwhile, the Orioles and Nationals are still terrible.]
Therein lies my problem with Teixeira, all the double-speak and the falsisms. The fact that he continues to exhibit a pattern of dishonesty, often talking out of both sides of his mouth.
There’s also the arrogance he exudes, which goes back a decade, when he finagled his rookie deal, even though I don’t think he ever really wanted to be a Texas Ranger in the first place.
The reason I brought all of this up is because news came out this morning that Teixeira had let Scott Boras go, terminating their 12-year client/agent relationship.
He released a statement, which I have borrowed from the above link —
Now that the contract is over with, I don’t want to be ‘Scott Boras client’. I want to be Mark Teixeira, baseball player, helping this team win championships …. Scott did a great job getting me my contract. I wanted to be in New York from the beginning…. [but] from here on out, there’s no reason to worry about the contract…
Wait, I’m confused. Has being associated with Scott Boras made you less of a baseball player? If so, how so? Please show your work.
But there’s no work to show, because this is actually pretty straight forward. It boils down to Teixeira getting what he wants and then discarding the refuse, which is exactly what he’s always done. This is just who this guy is, even though he speaks so rarely that most people don’t seem to realize it.
(There’s also that bit in there about how it was always his master plan to be in pinstripes. I don’t think that’s necessarily true, but if you take him at his word, then my assumption that he never wanted to play in Texas is an accurate assumption.)
I think that, for Teixeira’s sake, he should worry less about being Mark Teixeira, Baseball Player, and more about being Mark Teixeira, Honest & Genuine Human Being.
*Your average rookie is guaranteed something like $400,000 when they’re first called up to the big league club, whereas Teixeira was already making over $2MM annually with exactly 0 days of service.
**But don’t think that a lot of that arrogance doesn’t come from their agents telling them how great they are.
***Oriole Park at Camden Yards is where the Baltimore Orioles play, a park that I would much like to visit one day.