The Yankees' options for Mark Teixeira in a contract year

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas | USA TODAY Sports
As this season draws closer and closer to the postseason, the Yankees will start building for next season as they appear to be headed home after the regular season. Trade rumors have been a hot topic in the Bronx, as Carlos Beltran, Andrew Miller, and Nathan Eovaldi have been among the names thrown around, along with the team already trading away Aroldis Chapman for a plethora of young talent. In the last year of his mega contract, Mark Teixeira’s name hasn't really been thrown around as a potential trade option, but the Yanks front office has reportedly discussed cutting him, along with fellow teammate Alex Rodriguez. His disastrous season thus far leaves his future in the Bronx in severe doubt. If not released in the next month, it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the offseason. Here's options the Yankees have with Teixeira and which one I feel is the best move for the future of this team:

Trade him
This one is easily the most unrealistic of happening of the four options. Despite his popular name, sure-handed glove, and solid power, this season has most likely scared most (if not all) teams away from even being interested in him. Along with his known injury history, Teixeira is batting just .185 on the season. This combination will shy contending teams away from him, especially when his biggest threat has only resulted in nine homers. Not only is it unlikely that there's interest in him, but no team would probably be willing to part ways with a prospect (even if it's a mid-level) for a declining player on the last year of his contract.

Release him
This one has been discussed amongst Yankees front office personnel, but in the end is probably unlikely to happen as well. Despite his poor play this season, the Yankees probably don't have the guts to pull off this move, as he has been a leader in the Yankees clubhouse for years now. As much as Yankee fans are disgusted with his performance this season, the team also has nothing to lose, as they will most likely miss the playoffs. Giving him a chance to prove himself in the final few months of the season would be beneficial to see if there's any chance of Tex returning next season. If he starts hitting home runs and improves his average, Tex could return and battle with Bird for the job next season.

Let him walk in the offseason
Not resigning Tex this offseason would be the best option for both sides. On Mark’s side of things, he could go try and sign with a team that's in championship contention, as wherever he goes he won't get much money. For the Yankees, this is a no-brainer in my opinion. He's 36-years-old, always has injury problems, and is coming off his worst career year, along with this, his soon-to-be replacement Greg Bird coming back next season. Despite a small sample size, Bird showed thrilling potential in his time last season with the club. An offseason shoulder injury sidelined him this whole season, but he is still widely considered the future first baseman for this team. He offers more youth, while still having the same kind of qualities Teixeira has had throughout his career.

Sign him to a team-friendly contract
The only way the Yankees would consider bringing Teixeira back would be on a short-term, low-salary contract. If signed to a one-year deal, he would get his chance to prove whether he anything left in the tank or not and it’s also a low-risk deal. The only way I see this as an option is if he improves his play down the stretch, which is unlikely the way he has played all season. In this scenario, Teixeira would most likely be relegated to the backup first baseman role. His leadership, power, and defense are still positives about Teixeira's game despite his miserable 2015-16 campaign. His market will most likely be quiet, meaning he most likely won't get much in money.

If not Tex, who would be the backup first baseman?
One of the few reasons I would explore resigning Teixeira is the lack of proven options the Yankees have behind Bird. Such candidates would include Dustin Ackley, Rob Refsnyder, and Tyler Austin. Ackley struggled getting anything going this season, batting just .148 in 61 ABs. I do believe he could be a reliable backup though with his versatility and left-handed power bat. Refsnyder is intriguing, as he also brings versatility and a bit of youth to the Bronx. Tyler Austin is the most unlikely, as he hasn't made it to the majors once yet. Without a major league at-bat, despite his solid potential, it would be tough to hand him a backup first baseman job. Another candidate to watch for is Chris Parmelee. Although a very small sample size, he was exciting in the short time he was with the Yankees and could come back on a low-salary contract.

In the end, barring a strong end to the season, I see the Yankees moving on from Teixeira. In his time last season, Bird showed he’s capable and ready to take over the starting job at first base. If Tex is not brought back, it would also continue trending the Yankees in the right direction as far as the youth on their roster. For many years now, fans have been displeased with all the aging veterans on the roster. They have started the rebuilding process, recently acquiring young infielders Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro the past two offseasons, along with the package from the Cubs this past week. Getting youth on the roster will help the Yankees soon be a contender again and letting Teixeira walk this offseason will be good for the future of the ballclub.

Article by: Spencer Schultz
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