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Sox say little, so how far will they go?

Posted by Tony Massarotti, Globe Staff  December 10, 2008 09:03 PM

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LAS VEGAS -- Not long after superagent Scott Boras said he has received offers from every team interested in free agent first baseman Mark Teixeira, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein cited club policy and declined to confirm that the team had made any offers to any players.

But at this stage, the question isn't whether the Red Sox have made Teixeira an offer.

It's how much they offered.

For what it's worth, Epstein said the Sox have been "aggressive, very aggressive,'' in their pursuit of free agents, and Teixeira has been their No. 1 target from the start. All offers for Teixeira are expected to range between 6-8 years in length and average somewhere between $20 million-$25 million annually, which could place the value of any package in the range of $150 million-$200 million.

Epstein also declined to say whether the Sox have made a formal offer to catcher Jason Varitek, though the the club obviously has. In contrast to Teixeira, the issue here is how little the Sox offered to their captain, who just completed a four-year, $40 million contract.

Epstein also addressed a wide range of topics, including the seeming preponderance of "opt-out'' clauses like the ones CC Sabathia has received from the Yankees. The Sox, of course, benefited by such a clause in their recruitment and signing of J.D. Drew, who opted out of a deal with the Dodgers to accept a five-year, $70 million deal with Boston prior to the 2007 season.

Just don't expect the Sox to give any opt-out clauses, particularly to someone like Teixeira.

"We'd be strongly opposed to it,'' Epstein said. "It's hard to imagine a scenario where we'd do it, [especially] with a player in his prime years.''

Teixeira is 28.

Beyond those issues, Epstein briefly defended the Sox' perceived unwillingness to trade their prospects -- "We're not afraid to give up our players,'' he said -- as well as the team's decision to sign Drew two years ago. The latter came up as an example when Epstein was asked about the club's decision-making procedures as it pertained to signing big-name free agents.

"Maybe we valued him more for [assorted reasons], but he was certainly the right fit,'' Epstein said of Drew.

Teixeira, too, seems to be the right fit.

But how much is too much?

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