This is the second installment of my twelve part series chronicling the never-ending rivalry between da Sox and da Yanks. Today, I’m going to look at the first basemen, a position where the Red Sox have been lacking power for the last decade. Before I even begin to compare the two first basemen, let me give you their three-year averages just to show you how close these players really are…

Player A: 93 Rs, 36 HRs, 106 RBIs, .285 BA, .387 OBP, .524 SLG; 2 Gold Gloves
Player B: 106 Rs, 35 HRs, 117 RBIs, .285 BA, .388 OBP, .551 SLG; 2 Gold Gloves

For those of you playing at home, Player A was Adrian Gonzalez and Player B was Mark Teixeira. Numbers are pretty close, right?

Red Sox: Adrian Gonzalez (2010: .298 BA, 31 HRs, 101 RBIs w/ SD)
Yankees: Mark Teixeira (2010: .256 BA, 33 HRs, 108 RBIs)

After watching Jake Peavy leave San Diego a year ago while listening to his name in countless trade rumors, Gonzalez has finally found a new home in Boston. The three time All-Star finished fourth in NL MVP voting last year while posting an impressive 6.3 WAR. Defensively, Gonzalez has always been one of the best in the game. He has won two Gold Glove awards (2008, 2009) and carries a career .994 fielding percentage. The slugging lefty led the NL in walks during 2009 (118) while finishing third last season (93). The 29-year-old has been a model of health, playing in no fewer than 156 games since taking over as a full-time starter in 2006.

Sliding Gonzalez into the middle of the Boston order makes it one of the more feared lineups in the game. Add in the speedy Carl Crawford and the Boston offense will look to improve upon their 2010 run total (819) which was second highest in baseball to the Yankees (859).

After losing Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez to free agency, the Red Sox will need to replace 48 HRs and 181 RBIs. Adding Gonzalez will only make that transition a little easier.

If you are a huge Teixeira fan like I am, you might as turn away when he comes up to bat in April. In 22 April games last season, Teixeira hit at a .136 clip with only two home runs. During the summer months though, Mr. Teixeira is one of the best.  Teixeira started to heat up during July and August, clubbing 17 homers and driving in 47 runs in 52 games. Somehow, the April jitters always seem to come back during October. During the playoffs, Teix fell back into his familiar Springtime funk, hitting at a .148 clip with one home run and three RBIs. When Teixeira hits his stride, few hitters can top his production, but when he’s cold, it’s truly frustrating to watch.

Outside of his overall impressive offensive numbers, Teix really earns his paycheck with his glove work. Teixeira has won Gold Gloves in each of his first two seasons with the Bombers. In 2,585 chances, Teix has only committed seven errors with the Yanks (.998 fielding %). The guy seems to make at least one dramatic defensive play per game that changes the dynamic of that inning.

So, let’s get to the verdict. We have two players who have won multiple Gold Gloves, have averaged roughly the same home run output, batting average, and on-base percentage over the last three seasons….


Edge: Slight, Slight Yankees

Outside of his brief stint with the Atlanta Braves, Teixeira is a career American League player who has constantly played in pressure situations. He has seen virtually every American league arm and is used to grind of the American League East. There’s no doubt that Gonzalez is a special talent, but he has spent his whole career playing with little to no pressure in San Diego. Can he perform at high levels on the big stage at Fenway Park? It’s worth noting that Gonzalez will go from hitting in a lineup full of nobodies to one filled with All-Stars. Getting out of ‘Hitter’s Hell’ known as Petco Park (11 HRs in 2010) will likely boost his power output. Gonzalez is still rehabbing from his shoulder surgery, so monitor that during the spring. I won’t be surprised if Gonzalez smacks 40-45 homers and drives in 130+ RBIs, but I don’t expect him to have an easy time early on as he adjusts to American League pitching. If Teixeira starts off strong in April, 40 home runs and 135+ RBIs are a real possibility.

In a photo finish, I’m taking the guy who has proven he can handle the AL East.

Yankees 2
Red Sox 0

Who would you rather have, Gonzalez or Teixeira?

Check back tomorrow as I compare two of the best second basemen in the game.