TAMPA, Fla. — Mark Teixeira said Wednesday he wants to play “five more years,” and if possible, he would like to do it with the Yankees.
Teixeira, entering the final year of a $180-million contract he signed before the 2009 season, has not played in a walk year in some time.
“The great thing about contract years is if you do your job on the field for your team, the contract works out for you,” Teixeira said Wednesday morning. “That kind of stuff falls into place if you go out, have a good year and help your team win.”
Does Teixeira, who turns 36 April 11, want all of that to fall into place with the Yankees?
“Absolutely,” he said. “That’s kind of the easiest question you could ever ask me. I’d love to stay here, but we’ll see what happens at the end of the year.”
It is unlikely the Yankees would do another big contract with Teixeira, who has been injury-prone the last several seasons. Some kind of shorter deal can’t be ruled out, though, depending on his health and production in 2016.
Regardless, that discussion is a ways away. Both his focus and the Yankees’ is on this season. Teixeira is hoping to duplicate, or even surpass his 2015, a season derailed by a fractured right leg incurred on a foul ball Aug. 17. That continued a late-career trend of physical problems for the first baseman, who had a .255/.357/.548 slash line with 31 homers and 79 RBIs last season.
Teixeira averaged 153 games from 2003-2011 but only 93 games from 2012-2015, including the 15 games he was limited to in 2013, when he underwent surgery on his right wrist. His 2014 season brought post-surgery issues with the wrist and an assortment of other nagging injuries, which limited him to 123 games.
But Teixeira experienced a rebirth last year, earning an All-Star bid and being on pace to play 150-plus games. All of that, of course, before the fractured leg.
“You have to stay a little lucky sometimes,” he said. “The first 10 years of my career, you can’t ask for anything more. The last few years have been a little difficult, but the wrist is behind me, the rest of my body feels great. Last year was a freak thing, and hopefully those kinds of freak accidents don’t happen again.”
Teixeira said the prospect of playing four or five more years was the furthest thing from his mind in 2013 and 2014.
“I’d love to play five more years, I’d love to play until I’m 40,” he said. “If you asked me that when I was coming off wrist surgery, I was pretty honest with you guys; I felt like crap the entire year in 2014. I didn’t know what the future held for me. But I’ve completely turned that around. My body feels so good, why not play until I’m 40?”
Teixeira said he foresees being a designated hitter in those latter years, but again, that’s all for down the road.
“Seven years have gone by in an instant, really,” he said. “It’s amazing how quickly it’s gone by, but for me to be still in a very productive position and helping our team win in maybe my last year here, that’s all I could ask for.”