It’s that time again. Time to dive into the mailbag and take a look at your questions. One about this week’s debate at first base, one about Albert Pujols, one about A-Rod and one about Gary Sheffield.

Expect to See This A Lot

Mark Asks:

Your article about Mark Teixeira vs. Adrian Gonzalez was a little..biased? If Gonzalez peaks this season in Boston, he should be able to easily outproduce Teixeira. You giving Teix the edge is a little extreme in my opinion. What are your projections for both hitters this season?

Mark is referencing this article, so check it out if you haven’t already. Basically, both players have similar skill sets. Big power from the left side and great defensive work at first base. If you really want to see how close these two players are, check the WAR graph:

By his standards, Teixeira had a down season in 2010. Despite hitting .136 and two home runs in April, Teixeira finished at .256 with 33 home runs and 108 RBIs. Teix pulled in another Gold Glove and continues to wow fans with his wizardry at first base.

I’ll be the first to admit that Gonzalez could have an absolute monster season playing 81 games at Fenway Park. Despite hitting in a lineup full of nobodies last season, Gonzalez mashed 31 home runs and drove in 101 runs. Once you put Carl Crawford and Dustin Pedroia in front of Gonzalez, he could easily knock in 130 RBIs. Add in the protection from Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz, Gonzalez could hit 40 home runs. Gonzalez’s left handed stroke is tailor made for Fenway Park. I’m just a little concerned about Gonzalez adapting to AL pitching. For him to hit these lofty totals, he has to get off to hot start.

Projections:

Teixeira: 108 runs, 37 HRs, 120 RBIs, .280 batting average
Gonzalez: 108 runs, 39 HRs, 125 RBIs, .300 batting average

Ben Asks:

Is there any chance that Albert Pujols will be on the Yankees next season?

In short, no. But, just for fun, let’s speculate. Whenever a premiere player hits free agency, the Yankees are always an option to land that player. We’ve seen this philosophy ever since George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973. However, the Yankees already have an All-Star caliber player at first base. Some people are suggesting that the Yankees could trade Mark Teixeira to St. Louis for Pujols and ink him the largest contract in baseball history (we’ve seen this story before, right?). But such a trade would only happen in video games.

There’s literally no offensive comparison when it comes to Pujols vs. Teixeira. Here are their career WARs:

Ultimately, I think Pujols will re-sign with the Cardinals. If you think of this way, this may the only time in the next 50 years when the Cardinals have to dish out serious cash for a player. Why let the best player in the game walk away? Especially when their biggest rival for Pujols’ services may be their most hated rival, the Chicago Cubs. Imagine Pujols calling Wrigley Field home and ending the Cubs World Series drought..

Christian Asks:

A-Rod: Over/Under 130 games started at third base?

Over the last three seasons, A-Rod has averaged 133 games played with 122 starts at third base. After injuring his quad in 2008 and having hip surgery in 2009, A-Rod has been seeing more and more time at DH, appearing in 7, 9, and 12 games respectively. All signs indicate that Rodriguez is 100% healthy entering the 2011 season, but injuries do happen and Rodriguez will turn 36 in July. Joe Girardi has made it a point to give his powerful third baseman a ‘half day off’ by slotting him as the DH once every two weeks or so. Jorge Posada will be the team’s full time designated hitter and the combination of Ramiro Pena/Eduardo Nunez should fill in nicely at third on off days for A-Rod.

I think it’ll be extremely close to 130 starts at third for A-Bomb, but I’m going to go under. Slightly under. I can see him starting between 125-129 games at third and getting another 15-20 games at DH.

Gary Asks:

Is Gary Sheffield a Hall of Famer?

In case you missed it, Gary Sheffield officially retired from baseball yesterday. So the question just begs to answered; is Sheff a Hall of Famer? In 22 Major League seasons, Sheffield, a .292 career hitter, hit 509 home runs and drove in 1,576 runs. Sheffield’s 509 home runs are 24th most all-time, but as we’ve seen with Mark McGwire, 500 home runs isn’t a golden ticket into the Hall of Fame, especially if the player has been linked to PEDs. In the Mitchell Report, Sheffield was noted as a player who allegedly purchased the ‘cream’ and the ‘clear’ from BALCO.

In my eyes, Sheffield falls into the same group as Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell– power hitters who fall into the gray area. Each of their resumes doesn’t overpower anyone in an era where doping ran rampant. They were power hitters in an era when it wasn’t favorable to be a power hitter. Ultimately, I don’t think Sheff’s numbers are good enough to look past his alleged doping. He may get in way down the line, but don’t expect him to get in early on.

That wraps up the mailbag for this week. Remember, send your questions nysos10 at gmail . com