THEY'RE BOTH GREAT, BUT I'LL TAKE TEXBy Kieran Darcy
Any team would be lucky to have either Mark Teixeira or Adrian Gonzalez in the middle of its order and patrolling the bag at first.
And the two players' numbers are remarkably similar, starting with their career batting averages (Teixeira is at .286, Gonzalez at .284).
But if I'm picking sides, I'm taking Tex.
A big reason? Teixeira is a switch-hitter, which prevents opposing teams from dialing up a specialist out of the 'pen to work against him. Gonzalez only bats from the left side.
Both players are slick fielders, but give me Teixeira and his four Gold Gloves over Gonzalez's pair.
And Teixeira has already proved he can handle the white-hot spotlight of playing in the Northeast Corridor and the Yanks-Sox rivalry. Let's see Gonzalez prove he's up to the challenge.
There's no question who's off to a better start in 2011 -- I'll take Teixeira's .334, four homers and 10 RBIs over Gonzalez's .294, zero and three.
Teixeira spurned the Red Sox when they drafted him in the ninth round out of high school in 1998, electing to attend Georgia Tech instead. He ended up the national collegiate player of the year, and was a first-round pick in 2001.
And then Teixeira spurned Boston again after the 2008 season, when he elected to sign with the Yanks over the Sox and won a ring in his first year in the Bronx.
I'm not questioning Adrian Gonzalez's intellect by any means. But sounds like Mark Teixeira made some awfully smart decisions.
WITH FENWAY'S HELP, GONZO WILL BE MVPBy Joe McDonald
After the Red Sox and GM Theo Epstein lost a bidding war with the Yankees to sign Mark Teixeira prior to the 2009 season, Boston had to wait two seasons until it countered with a better option in the form of Adrian Gonzalez.
Yes, Gonzalez is a better player than Teixeira.
Teixeira has one more year of major league service time, and currently has a slightly higher career batting average (.286) and OPS (.915) than Gonzalez (.284 and .874 respectively). Teixeira also has more homers (279) and RBIs (916) to Gonzalez's 168 homers and 528 RBIs.
But sometimes numbers lie.
Gonzalez played in a pitcher-friendly ballpark in San Diego, while Teixeira has benefited from playing his home games in Texas, Atlanta, Anaheim and New York. All things being equal, Gonzalez is a better all-around player. And now that he's playing at Fenway, a park built for his swing, the numbers, you'll see, will bear that out.
When Teixeira was a free agent prior to the 2009 season, many teams coveted him, none more than the Yankees and Red Sox. A bidding war ensued and it appeared for a moment the Red Sox had won, until Teixeira decided to sign an eight-year contract in the Bronx worth $180 million.
Epstein and the Red Sox weren't about to let another soon-to-be free agent slugging first baseman slip through Bill Buckner's legs. So Epstein set his sights on Gonzalez and landed his man.
It's not much of a leap to say fans have the Yankees to thank for Gonzalez being in Boston, a fact that will make what I predict will be an MVP season from the new Sox first baseman even sweeter.