Mark Teixeira’s torn cartilage raises numerous questions that both him and the New York Yankees wish they had answers for.
By Emmanuel Berbari
When New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira’s knee buckled, his cartilage tore and his season was destroyed, questions immediately arose for Joe Girardi, Brian Cashman, Hal Steinbrenner, and even Teixeira himself.
Teixeira, struggling or not, has often times been taken for granted. Currently, the Yankees are in a position where they do not know which way to lean.
Greg Bird used to be a great insurance policy the Yanks had in their back pocket. As he rehabs from shoulder surgery, he is no longer that option.
With Tex down, there are no true formidable options that pop out at you or instill any fear into an opponent.
Rob Refsnyder has played the last two games in place of Teixeira but had never played a game there prior. It is a matter of time before the inexperience catches up with him.
Chris Parmelee was summoned from Scranton, but he was never able to find himself with the Twins or the Orioles. What makes anyone think he will find himself now?
The glamorous pick that drew nostalgia, due to 2009, was Nick Swisher. One problem: it is 2016. Swisher’s knees are shot and he currently cannot play effectively at the Triple-A level (.594 OPS), which would make him immensely worse at the major league level.
Austin Romine and Brian McCann are in-house catching candidates for the gig, but the Yankees would rather not sacrifice a backup catcher and be forced into a position they were put on Saturday night in Baltimore.
All of these candidates to fill Tex’s void, yet so much uncertainty, confusion, ineptness, and dismissal.
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While the Yankees have their own problem replacing a guy that has produced at such a high-level for so many years, Teixeira has an uncertainty of his own.
The articular cartilage tear he sustained in his knee appears to be a blow that will derail the late stages of his career. Often times microfracture surgery is involved in repairing such an injury.
Think about Grady Sizemore, a promising rising star of a center fielder for the Cleveland Indians prior to getting that procedure done on his knee. He was a 28-year-old at the time and found himself out of baseball for three years.
What does that mean for a 36-year-old? Well, only bad things considering that the level of treatment for this type of knee predicament is enhanced with age.
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Considering that there is a high chance Tex goes under the knife, his ability to land another starting job in the MLB will be questioned. Prior to the season, he was on the record saying that he would love to play five more years. After his latest setback, he was on the record saying he would love to play five more games.
In his walk year, he no longer has contract security and no longer has the guarantee that an offer will come his way. His mere 12 RBIs in 48 games prior to going down certainly did not help.
So while the Yankees will have their own issues with regards to filling a void, Teixeira has a bigger void waiting in the wings. He needs to figure out what is the right call late in an already successful career.
Should he retire following the year? What will the surgery entail? Time will tell the story.
Until then, new questions will continue to surface due to one pop in the switch-hitter’s right knee.