We’re starting to learn a little more about the contenders for free agent Mark Teixeira, who will likely decide within the next couple of weeks where he wants to spend the next 7-10 seasons.
There were believed to be four serious suitors for Teixeira as of this morning — the Red Sox, Angels, Orioles, and Nationals — and SI.com’s Jon Heyman is reporting that the Yankees are also in the mix. (More on that momentarily.) Reports are trickling out on the length and value of their offers, and agent Scott Boras said he has received proposal from each team interested in Teixeira.
So what is Teixeira, a native of Maryland who is believed to prefer the East Coast, looking for in a team?
“The club’s ability to win and win in the long term,” Boras said yesterday. “Commitment by the owners, long term, to the franchise being successful. Where they play, the city they’re in. He’s played in both leagues. He’s had an opportunity to make an analysis of what’s best for he and his family. And, of course, the economics too.”
Ah, yes … don’t forget about those “economics.” If the also-ran Orioles or Nationals end up offering more money than the perennially contending Red Sox or Angels, it will be interesting to see what Teixeira gives more weight to: Total dollars or playing with a winner.
Before we get to a team-by-team look at where each contender stands (based on reports gathered from media outlets across the country) we feel inclined to let you know that some have questioned whether some of the numbers being reported have been exaggerated. Yahoo! Sports’ Gordon Edes and Tim Brown reported that two top executives with one of the teams going after Teixeira thought the Boras camp was using the media to inflate numbers beyond what was actually offered.
Onto our roundup of what’s being reported:
- Red Sox (rumored offer — Unknown): The Red Sox ship hasn’t sprung any leaks when it comes to details of their offer for Teixeira, but people around baseball are still calling them the favorites to land the free-agent first baseman. According to FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, a major league source and a rival GM both believed the Sox were making progress toward signing Teixeira. While Teixeira is seeking a 10-year deal, all indications point to the Red Sox being more comfortable with something in the 6-8 year range. Yahoo! Sports’ Gordon Edes and Tim Brown reported that the Angels were being told the Red Sox made an offer of 8 years and around $160 million, though that hasn’t been substantiated. The Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported today that, according to a Red Sox official, there was nothing imminent on Teixeira. The Herald’s Sean McAdam reported today that, according to a source with knowledge of situation, the Sox were struggling with the idea of offering Teixeira an eight-year contract. Alternatively, McAdam reports, the Sox were debating an offer that might not be as long but would instead have a higher average annual value. SI.com’s Jon Heyman doesn’t think the Red Sox are currently the high bidder for Teixeira, though he still considers them the favorites. The Globe’s Amalie Benjamin brought up an interesting point about opt-out clauses, which the Sox don’t seem to be open to. From Benjamin: “One piece that might not be part of a Mark Teixeira deal for the Sox would be an opt-out clause. Though it seems to be the hot item in recent deals, [Theo] Epstein didn’t mince words in describing his distaste for such clauses. The Sox also have a policy against no-trades in contracts. ‘We’d be strongly opposed to it,’ he said.”
- Angels (rumored offer — Unknown): Like the Red Sox, the Angels have not confirmed whether they have made an offer for Teixeira, only that they have given Boras the parameters of a potential deal. What might those parameters be? SI.com’s Jon Heyman reported that the Angels intend to set a limit and stick to that limit, which he believes to be around $160 million. “Scott knows where we stand,” Angels general manager Tony Reagins told the LA Times. “We have a level of salary and years that we’re comfortable with, and hopefully that will get it done. . . . If it doesn’t, we’ll have to move on.”
- Nationals (rumored offer — eight years, $160 million-$180 million): There are conflicting reports as to the exact value of the Nationals’ offer, but any way you slice it that’s a heck of a lot of dinero, especially coming from a franchise that lost 102 games last season and hasn’t posted a winning record since 2002. GM Jim Bowden confirmed the team has made an offer to Teixeira, and told the Washington Times that signing Teixeira is the team’s No. 1 priority. SI.com’s Jon Heyman believes the Nats would be willing to go as high as 10 years, $200 million, which is the bar Boras set earlier this offseason.
- Orioles (rumored offer — seven years, $140 million-$150 million): Another serious offer from another team that hasn’t posted a winning record in years. Orioles president Andy McPhail told the Baltimore Sun he is against offering Teixeira 10 years and $200 million. MacPhail told the Sun that his club was “handicapped” if the most important factor for Teixeira was winning immediately.
- Yankees (rumored offer — Unknown): The Yankees have re-entered the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes according to SI.com. There had been very little speculation about the Yankees making Teixeira a contract offer — until Heyman’s report, that is. He originally wrote that sources told him that the Yankees “aren’t about to concede Teixeira to the rival Red Sox or anyone else,” though he did not indicate whether the Yankees have even made a formal offer. It’s worth noting that the Yankees’ mode of operation on occasion in the past has been to swoop in unexpectedly with a rich offer to a free agent that they haven’t necessarily been linked to. (Johnny Damon in 2005, for instance.) But most seem to believe the Red Sox are the favorite to land the slugger.