Mark Teixeira is still a good baseball player. It is worthwhile to remember this. He hit 24 homers in 2012. His OPS+ was 116. He earned 3.6 WAR, according to For a 123-game season, this is not that bad.

Of course, a couple facts about Teixeira hurt his case.

1. He plays first base. You need to mash at first. A 116 OPS+ is pretty average. Paul Goldschmidt had a 123 OPS+. Freddie Freeman had a 113 OPS+. Ike Davis? 110 OPS+. These players do not earn more than $20 million per season.

2. Teixeira received a base salary of $22.5 million last season. He will earn $22.5 million for the next four seasons. This is a lot of money.

3. He turns 33 in April. His production has begun a steep decline. His OPS in 2008, the year before he joined the Yankees, was .962. His OPS was .948 the next season. Since then? It’s been .831, with a career-worst .807 mark in 2012.

You can see the dilemma here. The Yankees pay Teixeira a lot of money. He plays a position at which he is inching toward being average. He is getting older, and arresting a decline is a difficult task.

Teixeira understands he is declining. He knows he will never be the hitter he was during his prime, when he hit nearly .300. He believes he can still hit for power. He believes he can still take a walk. He believes he can still play what he calls “Gold Glove defense.”

This pretty much appears to be true. His best season was 2008. His ISO (isolated power) in 2008, for example, was .244. His ISO in 2012 was .224. His walk rate in 2008 was 14.2 percent. His walk rate in 2012 was 10.3

Obviously, there is some decline in there. That’s to be expected. But it also shows he’s retained some of his skills even as he’s taken a step backwards. In addition, he’s gone through three consecutive years of poor BABIP luck.