What should the New York Yankees expect from Mark Teixeira in 2014 after his surgery to repair his wrist injury that he suffered in the World Baseball Classic? That question may be easier to answer then you think, in a perfect world anyway, as we look at another slugger who recently had a similar incident. Jose Bautista had the same exact injury, tried the same exact rehab and avoid surgery ploy, failed, and ended up having season ending surgery. How Bautista came back in 2013 after his 2012 surgery may be an indicator of what to expect from Mark Teixeira in 2014 after his season ending surgery.
Bautista saw a triple slash of .241/.358/.527 in 2012 improve to a .258/.358/.498 in 2013 with a 0.030 drop in OPS and a six point drop in OPS+. Bautista only played in 92 games in 2012 but saw playing time in 118 games in 2013 and was an All Star in both seasons. Bautista's power numbers, although his slugging was down from a year ago, remained the same or improved as Joey bats hits 27 home runs in 2012 and hit 28 home runs this season for the Blue Jays. Bautista also hit 10 more doubles, 24, in 2013 then he did when he hit 14 in 2012. Bautista's walk, strike out, RBI, hits, and all other offense statistics were right in line or a tick below with his last three or four years when you use a 162 game average. Long story short here is Bautista did not see a step back in his offensive numbers after having the surgery and we should logically be able to expect the same for Teixeira.
The defense though is what makes Teixeira's mega salary almost bearable as he ages and is an important factor in the health of his wrist going forward. Bautista is a right fielder and does not get nearly the same amount of chances with the bat as a first basemen would but we will still try to look at the stats to see if we should be worried. While Bautista had a slight increase in errors the three more fielding miscues in right field in 26 more games does not concern me much as Bautista still only finished with five errors in the outfield last season. His assists were down but I cannot see any feasible or realistic way that relates to the wrist health or anything like that so again, long story short, Bautista was the same man that he always was in the field as well after having a major wrist surgery.
Now obviously this is all on paper and in a perfect world. This does not factor in rolling over a wrist, take an awkward swing, hit by pitches, or any other anomaly. This is based on a healthy and productive season for Mark and being able to do everything 100%. Based on the findings though I think the Yankees should be cautious, get some depth, but in the end be optimistic with the future of their first basemen.