Four years later, Baltimore fans still hold a grudge against Maryland native Mark Teixeira for using the Orioles as leverage for his deal with the New York Yankees. The O’s reportedly offered Teixeira $150 million over seven years and were expected to match whatever offer he received elsewhere. He signed with the Yankees for $180 million.
“In a perfect world, the Orioles would’ve won the World Series every year I was alive and I’d be an Oriole right now,” Teixeira told reporters in 2009 according to Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News. “I have so much love for this city, this organization. But in the business world, in the baseball world, sometimes you have to make difficult decisions. When it came down to it, the Yankees were a better fit for me.”
It’s funny how time changes an opinion. Here’s Mark Teixeira’s thoughts on his contract from February 2, 2013.
“Agents are probably going to hate me for saying it. You’re not very valuable when you’re making $20 million. When you’re Mike Trout, making the minimum, you are crazy valuable. My first six years, before I was a free agent, I was very valuable. But there’s nothing you can do that can justify a $20 million contract.”
Grantland’s Jonah Keri listed Teixeira as an honorable mention in his 15 worst contracts in baseball, pointing out that his batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage have been on a steady decline since signing in New York.
Keri asks if Teixeira has been provoked by Yankee Stadium’s short porch in right field and has fallen more into an uppercut swing as a lefty.
Or maybe age has slowed his bat, leaving the soon-to-be-33-year-old switch-hitter headed in the wrong direction with four years and $90 million left on his deal. There might be another guy on this team getting a lot more grief for his declining skills and terrifying contract. But the Yankees are stuck with Teixeira at this point, almost as much as they are with that other guy.
In the end, it’s great that the Orioles didn’t spend big on Mark Teixeira. He was never going to be the leader they needed in the locker room and they built a playoff team with guys that wanted to represent the city.
Can you imagine Teixeira traveling with the Ravens during the playoffs like Adam Jones did?
Baltimore isn’t a large market team and hasn’t spent big on free agents, but they’ve locked up their talent and avoided bad deals unlike their AL East neighbors to the north. If they would have splurged on Teixeira, they probably wouldn’t be where they are today.