Red Sox owner John Henry e-mailed several media members late tonight with a stunning twist in the team’s pursuit of free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira.
Henry’s words: “We met with Mr. Teixeira and were very much impressed with him. After hearing about his other offers, however, it seems clear that we are not going to be a factor.”
Earlier tonight, multiple news outlets reported the Red Sox had traveled to Texas to meet with Teixeira and his agent, Scott Boras, in the hopes of trying to finalize a deal. WCVB-TV Channel 5 reported that the Red Sox had offered Teixeira an eight-year deal worth $184 million (an average of $23 million per season).
Five teams have been in the hunt for Teixeira to some extent — the Sox, Angels, Yankees, Orioles, and Nationals — and all indications had been pointing to the Red Sox as the frontrunners.
Henry’s reference to the “other offers” leaves open the possibility he is calling the bluff of Boras, who has been known to inflate the value of offers and the number of suitors pursuing his client. Boras represented former Red Sox center fielder Johnny Damon, who signed with the New York Yankees in 2005 after the Boston brass apparently refused to believe that the offer from their archrivals was real.
Earlier this week, Henry had expressed concern about granting a player a contract of eight years or more.
“We all have limits,” he wrote the AP on Wednesday. “Eight years is a very long time in baseball and everywhere else.”
He also said the amount the team is willing to spend on a free agent “depends on both” the economy and the player being sought.
“Baseball as a whole has not yet been hit by the financial crisis, but it will,” Henry said. “The degree is in question and won’t be answered for a while.”
Additionally, Henry wrote in an e-mail to the Herald that the Red Sox would not give a 10-year contract to any free agent.
Teixeira hit .308 with 33 homers and 121 RBIs last season, including .358 with 13 homers and 43 RBIs in 54 games with the Angels.
Background material from the Associated Press was used in this report.