Teixeira's attitude merits one-way ticket out of Texas

The Baltimore Sun

ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's time for Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels to trade Mark Teixeira, the team's best player. The sooner, the better.

Today would be great. Next week would be cool, too.

Clearly, Teixeira no longer wants to play for the Rangers. The feeling, however, is mutual.

Now, Daniels will never admit that - even if you give him truth serum. Neither will manager Ron Washington. It wouldn't do either of them any good to admit it.

But it's true.

A few months ago, I would've considered the notion of trading Teixeira, who has been out with a strained quadriceps, ridiculous because of the 27-year-old's prodigious talent. You simply don't get rid of 30-homer, 100-RBI players with Hall of Fame potential.

I've changed my mind.

It's Teixeira's fault because he's a chronic complainer.

Think about it. He didn't like playing for Buck Showalter. Now, he doesn't like playing for Washington. Those guys couldn't be more different in their approaches.

That tells me Teixeira or his agent, Scott Boras, is the problem.

Talk to enough people and they'll tell you Teixeira is the kind of guy who would complain about the greens at Augusta National or paying taxes after winning the lottery. Ordinarily, you'd overlook that character flaw because he's such a good player.

Not anymore.

Not after he publicly ripped the Rangers on Wednesday, essentially calling the franchise a second-tier organization. Frankly, his comments about the Rangers' history of losing is true.

That's not the point. It's the timing.

Teixeira is supposed to be a team leader. Instead of talking about trying to help his teammates sustain the momentum created in the last month with a 15-8 surge, he criticized virtually every facet of the organization.

More important, he failed to take any responsibility for the Rangers' poor record this season or any other year that he has been with the club.

This year, Teixeira is hitting just .229 in losses. That's a 73-point drop from his overall batting average of .302. No other Ranger who has played in at least 50 games has had a bigger decline. For the record, he's hitting .171 (6-for-35) with runners in scoring position in losses this year.

Let me interpret that for you: Teixeira is as much a part of the problem as anyone else. It's not as though he's getting four hits and the Rangers are losing in spite of his performance.

You could make the argument they're losing because of it.

Perhaps if Teixeira, a notoriously slow starter, had played better in April or May he could've carried the Rangers until everyone else found a groove. Look at the way Marlon Byrd and Brad Wilkerson carried the team in June.

Teixeira has not been granted absolution for the Rangers' woes.

Neither has Michael Young, Kevin Millwood or any of the team's other key players. Nor have they asked for it.

That's why it's time for Teixeira to go. Maybe the Severna Park native can return home and play for his beloved Orioles, who have about a .430 winning percentage since the start of the 2000 season. Now that Teixeira has removed any doubt he wants to be traded, he should ask Boras to help facilitate a deal.

The Rangers aren't going to get a platinum package of prospects for Teixeira, but they would accept a gold package. Anything less and Daniels will simply keep Teixeira until he becomes a free agent, which doesn't help either party.

Teixeira can help himself get traded by getting off to a good start during the Rangers' six-game trip. But he'll have to do it against the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics, who have two of the American League's best pitching staffs.

The Rangers suggested he play three minor league games, including one in Springfield, Mo., and join the club today in Anaheim to help him get off to a good start. As a switch-hitter, it takes Teixeira longer to find a rhythm at the plate.

He declined because he didn't want to travel that much, so he played one game with Double-A Frisco. Perhaps, we shouldn't have been surprised.

It doesn't make sense, but the Rangers have been fun to watch the past month while Teixeira has been out of the lineup. Texas has won 15 of 23 games and bares no resemblance to the lethargic club that was 19 games under .500 just a month ago.

Is it a coincidence this hot stretch occurred without Teixeira? Probably. Still, you can't ignore the team's 16-11 record without him.

Maybe, the vibes are just better when he's not in the clubhouse. We should find out soon.

Jean-Jacques Taylor writes for The Dallas Morning News.

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