One of the biggest differences between the 2009 Yankees and 2010 Yankees was Mark Teixeira.
In 2009 he showed up with a big salary and big expectations and fulfilled those by leading the league in home runs, RBI’s, and total bases. In 2010 his batting average dropped to .256 and his slugging percentage dropped below .500 for the first time since his rookie year. Hands down 2010 was Teixeira’s worst year since 2003.
Injuries were part of it, but don’t explain the whole thing. Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci caught up with Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long recently and the two discussed Teixeira and Long’s plan to help him make 2010 an aberration instead of the start of something bad.
The three area’s Long identified that need the biggest help are his poor starts, his unorthodox mechanics, and his poor opposite-field hitting.
Without recapping the entire article, Long has plans for working with Teixeira in all three areas. He doesn’t expect miracles, but he notes that he plans similar adjustments as he made with Nick Swisher last year before Swish had a career year in 2010. The fear, according to Verducci, is that if Teixeira fails to make these adjustments there is a real danger that his age will catch up with him and he’ll become the next Jason Giambi.
What do you think? Is Teixeira in real danger of experiencing a similar drop in skills as Giambi did? Can Long fix him? Or is this entire thing overblown?