According to Jon Heyman, the Yanks have agreed to a deal with Mark Teixeira.
Buster Olney is confirming it as well - eight years and 180 million , with a full no-trade clause.
The Yankees have now signed the three best players in this year's free agent market.
If they are willing to sacrifice some center field defense, their starting nine looks like this:
- 1b Tex
- 2b Cano
- ss Jeter
- 3b A-Rod
- C Posada
- LF Damon
- CF Swisher
- RF Nady
- DH Matsui
Clearly some fans will howl about this...but it's easy to rationalize the Yanks' logic. Teixiera is the best first baseman on the market not only in this year, but for the next several years. And, equally important, the 2010 free agent class offers very few acceptable options in right field for the Yankees, too. Look at that list - those right fielders are very old and declining defensively.
What's the connection between Teixeira and right field? By signing him, the Yankees can install Swisher in right field for the next several years...and eschew the poor right-field market.
They've had an incredible off-season, and done some tremendous long-term planning. They've invested heavily in starting pitching partially because next year's starting pitching market is very poor - it's headlined by John Lackey (if he doesn't sign an extension), Rich Harden, Brett Myers, and Duchscherer, probably none of whom the Yankees would want to invest in long-term. And they won't have to, because their 2010 rotation is set as long as Hughes can step in for Pettitte long-term.
The Yankees one free agent splurge of the '10 offseason will probably be a left fielder...just as Johnny Damon, Xavier Nady, and Hideki Matsui are all coming off the books, freeing up almost $35 million. So you can probably expect Matt Holliday or Jason Bay to be manning left field for them in 2010.
Their 2010 lineup loses Matsui, Damon, and Nady, and replaces them with Austin Jackson in center field (after spending '09 in AAA), Swisher in right, and Bay/Holliday in left (with the other one playing in Boston?) Perhaps they keep one of Matsui/Damon to be their '10 DH.
But they probably want to only have their '10 DH on the hook for one year...because the '11 free agent class is headlined by Joe Mauer. If he is willing to become a Yankee, there's no doubt the Yanks could outbid everyone, install him at catcher and bump Posada to DH in 2011, the final year of Posada's deal.
I feel like the Yanks have assured themselves a playoff berth for years to come. They've bought the three best players, but the scary thing is, they really haven't even had to overpay.