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A Little Taste on Teixeira (Updated Again)

UPDATE: Dave Sheinin's free agency story, linked earlier is being reworked with the news of the Yankees acquiring Nick Swisher from the White Sox.

That would seem to give the Yankees a first baseman ... which would seem to take them out of the Teixeira sweepstakes ... which would leave the Boston Red Sox as the main deep pockets competition ... which might give the Nats more hope. Perhaps.

Here is a taste of the Dave's story; I'll try to get a link up to the rewritten version ... once he rewrites it.

Against all odds and logic, the Nationals envision themselves as serious players in the Teixeira sweepstakes, according to team and league sources, and are believed to be preparing an offer they feel will be competitive with the others Teixeira is likely to receive. In other words, it would almost certainly be north of $100 million, if not $150 million -- a remarkable leap for a franchise whose major free agent signing last winter (as it headed into a new stadium) was catcher Paul Lo Duca at $5 million for one year.

"The plan hasn't changed," Nationals General Manager Jim Bowden said of the team's general strategy for building a contender. "Building our franchise through scouting and player development, as well as trades for your players, is still our core strategy for how we're going to win. ..... But we would be foolish to ignore using any source to make ourselves better, including free agency.

"But that said, any free agent interest from us would have to fit the criteria of being a player in his 20s who could be part of our long-term solution for winning."

By Tracee Hamilton  |  November 13, 2008; 4:18 PM ET
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Next: Teixeira and Swisher and Smoker, Oh My


Tracee, you're a gem. Thanks!

A crazier juxtapostion than Lo Duca is Crow. The difference between where the Nats were and where Crow (or his agent) thought he should be is per diem compared to what they'd have to offer Tex.

I'm not saying that signing Texiera means they should have been able to sign Crow. I'm just saying.

Posted by: JohninMpls | November 13, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

And I guess if they're going to make an offer, I should at least make an effort to spell his name right. Holy Saltalamacchia.

There's no I in team, but there are two in Teixeira.

Posted by: JohninMpls | November 13, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Well, at lease a confirmation from the Nats that they are indeed in the race for Tex. I think it's still a long shot, but wouldn't it be nice!?

Posted by: Keenan1 | November 13, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I'm not holding my breath, either, Keenan1.

Posted by: JohninMpls | November 13, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm certainly in the crowd of people who are happy they're making a play but let us not forget that because this team has yet to show it can be competitive they're going to have to be more than competitive in they're offer. Remember, it's expected that they'd have to significantly outbid the field to win the race. The cynic in me feels like they're making a show of this. In other words, fielding an offer that can be called competitive in order to redefine themselves to the industry and their fanbase.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | November 13, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

To spell his name, think of Old McDonald. EI-EI-A.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | November 13, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse


I think there's a lot of danger in simply reducing this to dollars. Crow didn't want to play here, and the only way he would sign is for some outrageous bonus. And if you do sign him, what do you have? A rich kid that doesn't want to play here.

As for Texiera, he has value to the Nats beyond his ability on the field. He could become the Nats Cal Ripken, in that he would be a long-term player with local roots... someone that makes local apperances all year long, has a home in the area, etc. Also, signing him takes the Nats from being perceived as the backwaters of MLB to being perceived as an organization that is making concrete progress towards contending... and it will attract others to the organization (as opposed to sending them running in fear). The other thing is, in terms of needs vs. skills, this is as close as you come to a perfect match for the Nats, short of signing an ace pitcher.

I have heard several pundits talking about pursuing Dunn... but I am pretty sure that by acquiring Willingham, they're not in the market for Dunn... and that would be a very short-sighted signing (and perpetuate the whole Reds-love thing).

I dunno if the Nats can compete for Texiera... but there is every reason to do so.

Posted by: wigi | November 13, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

This kind of speculation—coming as it does from Stan/Jim—is about as reliable as a politician's promises during a campaign. Apparently we are supposed to think that the Lerners actually would pay top dollar for anything. Give me a break.

Posted by: JohnRVA | November 13, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Negative Spin:
The deadline for season ticket deposits is Nov. 21st...The renewal rate is lower than expected (possibly in part because fans think the owners won't spend money) what better way to drum up interest and show that the owners actually will spend the money by giving false hope about a large Free Agent signing....When Tex doesn't sign with the Nats they will blame it on a the CraZy free agent market....

Posted by: Y2kob | November 13, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to think they're serious about this. As I and others have noted, a player like Teixeira, at a position of need, both on the field and in the lineup, at his age, is consistent with The Plan.

With that said, even if we sign him, we're still missing a true CF, a proven 2B and a #1 starter. But we do have some outfield assets to trade right now, and others could follow by ST or the trade deadline (e.g., Nick J., Redding, Belliard, possibly even Guzman or Meat).

Adding Teixeira now, a 2B or CF via trade, and a FA #1 starter after next year might get us a pretty competitive team in 2010.

Posted by: BobLHead | November 13, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Do we really think that the Lerner's believe they can "drum up" interest among potential season ticket buyers by faking at signing Teixeira? I think not, even a fool wouldn't believe he could get more than a couple hundred extra deposits with this kind of PR ploy, in truth is might hinder deposits because people would read this and wait longer than usual in order to wait for the big move to happen and then if it doesn't happen, or doesn't happen by the due date they won't sign up at all. This kind of insider discussion is NOT going to significantly affect people's spending habits and everyone (including the Lerner's and the FO) knows it.

I think this is a for real push and could succeed.

Posted by: estuartj | November 13, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I hope this is true just so that we can stop hearing about how the Lerners will NEVER sign a big name FA.

Posted by: sbiel2 | November 13, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

What wigi said :)

Posted by: CBinDC | November 13, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

My conspiracy theory doesn't go as deep as believing the Lerner's are trying to drum up season ticket sales by making an offer... I truly can't imagine that anyone would buy/renew season tickets because they made a play for a FA. However, an unsuccessful run at a big name FA will do some good. It will make other FA's stand up and take note, perhaps make an agent call you back when they may not have before, and could silence some of the LAC crowd. For me, it's really all about the numbers mentioned here (100/150 million) They're not the 200 we heard earlier. I found them a little disheartening. To me, they're enough to keep you in the conversation but in the end they're not going to get a deal done.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | November 13, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Tracee, for the much-appreciated updates.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | November 13, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Tracee, this was an excellent post.

I think the Nats are serious about Texiera, mainly because they saw that a pretty new ballpark alone is not going sustain attendence in the long term without a competitive team. I honestly believe that Texiera is likely to come here and that every effort is going to be made to sign him. I think the only question is, as Dave points out, if Texiera wants to play for a winner, if a winner will bid as much as the Nats will, and whether Texiera wants to play for Baltimore (he was a Baltimore fan growing up apparently) rather than us.

Dave's article fails to consider the oft-mentioned reports that the Nats are also considering Adam Dunn as a 1b. He has a long history with Bowden, and is a substantial improvement over the other FA's named (Millar, et. al.)

Posted by: raymitten | November 13, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Ken Rosenthal reporting that the Yankees just traded for 1B N.Swisher. Yanks out of Teixeira sweeps!?

Posted by: Keenan1 | November 13, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

wigi, in no way shape or form does the Nats getting Willingham have anything to do with going out and getting a 1B whether it be Teixeira,Dunn,Fielder,etc...

Posted by: Keenan1 | November 13, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

wigi, in no way shape or form does the Nats getting Willingham have anything to do with going out and getting a 1B whether it be Teixeira,Dunn,Fielder,etc...

Posted by: Keenan1 | November 13, 2008 4:04 PM

The same can be said about the Yankees, Swisher and Teixeira.

Posted by: jctichen | November 13, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't Swisher play OF also?


Ken Rosenthal reporting that the Yankees just traded for 1B N.Swisher. Yanks out of Teixeira sweeps!?

Posted by: Keenan1 | November 13, 2008 4:00 PM

Posted by: TimDz | November 13, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't agree more with Y2kob and others who agree with me that overt leaking of stories to the press about how the Nationals "are really pursuing Teixeira" is nothing more than a shameless attempt to pick up season ticket sales. That's exactly how I view it, and I'm exactly the target audience (a season ticket holder who's miffed who is not going to renew).

Btw, Swisher is an outfielder first, there's no way he is their solution at 1b. They'd rather sign Giambi to a one-year deal to play first than give up so much offense in Swisher. I Think swisher platoons w/ Damon in left while Cabrera and Nady play the rest of the OF.

Posted by: tboss | November 13, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Tracee - disagree that this has implications for NYY on Teixeira. As I posted on Baseball Insider, Swisher's versatility gives the NYY the option of pursuing Teixeira and having Abreu as plan B. With Teixeira, they can go Damon LF, Swisher CF, and Nady RF, with Gardner or Melky as the 4th OF; without Teixeira, they can put Gardner in CF, Swisher at 1st, and offer Abreu arbitration. All this assumes Posada can catch. If he can't either he or Matsui will need to play 1st (unlikely).

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | November 13, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

wigi, in no way shape or form does the Nats getting Willingham have anything to do with going out and getting a 1B whether it be Teixeira,Dunn,Fielder,etc...

Posted by: Keenan1 | November 13, 2008 4:04 PM

The same can be said about the Yankees, Swisher and Teixeira


Let's put some context in this subject. Swisher has played 1B in 229 games in his Major League career while Willingham has played 2 games at 1B in his career...

Posted by: Keenan1 | November 13, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

speaking of Tex...

*New BlogPimp powers activate, form of..a NewsPaper Column*

enjoy...or tear it to pieces, whichever you prefer.

*New BlogPimp powers deactivate *

Posted by: MrMadison | November 13, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

incidentally, Tracee is on a roll now, after the initial dust-up about that other team's uniform.

nice job, Tracee!

Posted by: MrMadison | November 13, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

The one thing working in the Nats' favor is Teixeira's agent. Boras clients (almost) always take the high offer.

Posted by: JOC44 | November 13, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

You should not get your hopes up. I agree with Y2Kob. This is nothing more than rouge painted by Bowden to convey the idea that they are trying to get better. They have no interest in spending that sort of money. When they fail to sign Tex they will blame the market.

I think you have seen all the trades that Bowden et al are going to make.

Unfortunately Washington is minor league when it comes to baseball. Tex does want to play for a triple AAA team. It looks like whatever the Orioles have the Nats have caught it.

Posted by: mjames0 | November 13, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse about that friendly bet on whether the Nats draft & sign Strasburg?

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | November 13, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Well done on the blog, Mr. Madison.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | November 13, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

jca (ptbnl?) what about Matsui? If Swisher takes an outfield spot, the Yanks already have a bunch of guys who they are going to need to use 1B/DH for, at least some of the time--including Matsui, Damon, Posada. I think that of course it is still possible that the Yanks go hard after Tex, but this makes it less likely.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | November 13, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

RicketyCricket - It dawns on me that the $100 -150 million might not be ludicrous if the Nats are going to pack this contract short. Recall Boras had A-Rod "opt-out" of his 2000 contract after 7 seasons and get a higher price extension. Boras may want Teixeira to have a second shot at the FA market in his prime years, rather than a lengthy deal. That'd especially be the case if Boras believes there is a salary inflation trend as baseball makes more money. Tex is what? 28? 29? A 5 year contract puts him back on the market at 33 or 34. A great time to seek another 5 year contract at inflated prices. Also, he does not become a slave to the Lerners if the plan does not show results.

Suppose the deal is 5 years at $27.5, with an option year at $30 million and a buy out at $2.5 million? That's $140 million, guaranteed. A-Rod money on AAV. That might be more attractive than 8 years at $200 million. If Manny were 3 years younger, I think he'd be getting much better offers than he's likely to get. So maybe Boras will want a shorter contract for Teixeira so he hits the market sooner.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | November 13, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I'd hope the Swisher deal makes it less likely the Yanks sign Teixeira, but I think the deal just gives NYY more flexibility. Afterall, they played Giambi & Abreu with the same group of guys still competing for OF/1B/DH spots now.

Damon in LF, Swisher in CF, Nady in RF, Posada at C, Matsui DH, Cabrera 4th OF & Gardner 5th OF or in the minors. 1B is still possibly open. The Yanks dont seem to mind having a $40 mil bench to offset the forthcoming DL time for older guys like Posada, Damon & Matsui.

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | November 13, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

CiL - yes, PTBNL finally has a name.

NYY are in a complex situation. Matsui is likely the DH, although at this point that may be Damon's and Posada's best position. They do have a potential log jam. It may be propaganda that Posada can catch next year.

For a while, I've said the NYY aren't a lock to push hard for Teixeira. Perhaps certain to bid him up so the Red Sox or Angels don't get him cheap, but this may be Santana all over again. Getting Swisher for cheap certainly is compatible with that plan.

However, I think this trade may be more about replacing Abreu than filling 1st. This does not necessarily add to the 1st base log jam. The NYY got by with Damon in LF last year, even when he was hurt. They could be willing to play Damon - Swisher - Nady, with Gardner as the defensive / base running 4th OF.

Their best case is Posada C, Matsui DH, Teix 1B, Damon LF, Swisher CF (where he played for the ChiSox). Swisher may be Abreu's replacement, and not Giambi.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | November 13, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

LDO - you said it in fewer words, better!

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | November 13, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

I see the Swisher signing partially as an attempt to play hardball with Boras. "We've got Nick, do you want to wind up with the Nats?"

Luckily, as pointed out by 1a, Boras clients usually take the most no matter who it is.

I also suspect that the Yanks would pay any amount of money to keep the Sox from acquiring Teixeira. Of course they're also making a push for Sabathia for Santana money. If there was a team willing to buy everyone, it would be the Yankees -- but is there?

Posted by: Section506 | November 13, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Posted this to NFA earlier today (amended).
Here’s hoping for the Nationals FO, given the recent news.
1) Make the offer to Teixiera (10-yr, $200M); the Yankees will still probably trump it, but make it.
1a) Sign R. Zimmerman to a 5-yr w/options deal ($4M>$16-18M per +).
2) Go after a bona-fide #1SP through short-term [1-2yr w/ option] FA contract (Lowe / Mussina / R. Johnson); Teach the staff how to win a close game and give time to the kids to mature.
3) If options 1 &/or 2 fail, Dunn is the fall-back (flexibility at LF/1B & a LH-bat, might take a mid-range [4 to 6-yr] contract).
Yeah, the above moves cost the team alot in terms of salary commitment to the 25-40 man roster, but they work toward "buying back" the casual fan, which the Lerner's are on the verge of losing.
4) See what shakes out in ST between the 4OF’s (Milledge/ Willingham/ Dukes / Kearns), Slick’s & DaMeat’s health at 1B; Send WMP to extended ST to learn 1B-101. Move some of the logjam for mid-level prospects before camp breaks.

Posted by: BinM | November 13, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

The NYY should be looking at a possible outfield of Matsui/ Damron/ Swisher/ M. Cabrera/ Nady (pick 3 of 5), with Abreu as a less-than likely re-sign, barring further action. Their 1B situation is Swisher/ Posada (if he can't throw from behind the plate), and DH should be one from Matsui/ Damron/ Swisher/ Posada.
Sadly (for Nattionals' fans), the Swisher trade does not take them out of the Teixiera sweeps. I still think the'll throw out an off that Boras won't allow his client to refuse.

Posted by: BinM | November 13, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, maybe the Nats' do "short-sheet" offer on Teixiera (5-yr+ at $125M vs. 10-yr at $200M) to give Boras another shot at his pint of blood - I'd still think the NYY toss out a deal that trumps almost everything else.
[Boras: That's 8%+ of #125M on a 5-yr (Nationals), versus 10% of a $200M over 10-yrs (Nationals/ Yankees). That's $10M for me, with another possible deal, or $20M for me & we're done - Who's gonna guarantee more years?]

Posted by: BinM | November 13, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

I honestly believe the Nats are trying to land Teixeira. None of the cynics has said anything to persuade me otherwise.

Posted by: Section109 | November 13, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

What will it take to sign him? Would 8 years at 20 mil a year do it?

Is there any team that would be willing to go more than 160 mil total contract value?

Posted by: cabraman | November 13, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Teixeira reportedly turned down 8 years/$140 mil from the Rangers last year.

The reports/rumors I've seen have at least $20 mil/yr and range from $120-200 mil for the life of the contract.

The Nats payroll will be just over $30 mil total (plus arbitration) going into 2010 with the current roster. The Kearns, Pena, Young, Johnson and Belliard contracts expire/options declined after 2009. Colome and Harris will be free agentsafter 2009. Outside of Guzman, every other player is team controlled through arbitration - thats basically the entire starting position players, rotation and bullpen.

Thats alot of payroll wiggle room for 2010 and beyond to add a couple big ticket items for 2009.

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | November 13, 2008 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Free agency has begun.

Let's go Nats!

Posted by: JohninMpls | November 14, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Felipe Lopez... yes that Felipe Lopez... is ranked by Keith Law as the 27th best free agent. Just behind guys like Ben Sheets, Randy Wolf, and Andy Pettitte; and just in front of guys like Mike Mussina, Jason Giambi, and Edgar Renteria. Law's evaluation of him was GLOWING:

"Lopez did more to help his standing in the last two months of 2008 than any other impending free agent -- and yes, that includes CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and Manny Ramirez.

Lopez couldn't stick on one of the worst clubs in baseball and his breakout in 2005 looked like a mirage, but in a very short stint with the Cardinals, he showed new life, playing harder than he had with Washington and hitting the ball with a lot more authority. Lopez has the raw tools of a first-round pick -- he has a quick bat, average or better power, and good running speed -- but they have never translated into on-field performance outside of 2005, and his effort level has been questioned at every stop.

He's not a .385 hitter and probably isn't even a .300 hitter, but as a guy who could easily hit .280/.350/.400 and play a capable second base, he's one of the best infield options on this market."

Posted by: RicketyCricket | November 14, 2008 6:42 AM | Report abuse

playing harder than he had with Washington


that's all I needed to see. eff Lopez. he was dogging it in DC and as soon as he left he started playing a lot harder. everyone knows that now.

Posted by: MrMadison | November 14, 2008 7:15 AM | Report abuse

As our little Law anecdote proves, I feel sports opinionists are somewhat worthless. Given that, there was this item about Cashman claiming to want Swisher to be the everyday first baseman:

Posted by: Section506 | November 14, 2008 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Stupid browser

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | November 14, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm salivating over the possibility that we get Tex. I'm in the camp that a 5ish year deal at 27-30M can do it. And I think the Lerners need to spend that money. An 8 or 10 year deal lands Tex in the same territory that Ramirez is in, which I guess we'll see if it's a good place to be in or not.

For all the CiL issues, 3 stories today in the Post. We need more of that love!!

Formerly Nats Fan in NJ

Posted by: JAlt0629 | November 14, 2008 7:51 AM | Report abuse

506 - I'm listening to the Cashman presser right now. Sounds like he's being cagey. Emphasizes flexibility of Swisher. Pitching is the priority, and that 1st is the obvious opening, does not preclude other use at other positions. In fact, emphasizes he is a 4 position, everyday player.

Reply to Tyler Kepner's question - Swishers above average in the corners, average defense in center "can certainly play CF . . . intent is to play him in the corners, but CF is an insurance policy for us."

By the way, other than what we've kicked around here, I have not heard any people outside of Planet NJ mention a high Annual Average Value, short years deal for Teixeira. It's just a way to make sense of the dollars that were reported yesterday.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | November 14, 2008 8:07 AM | Report abuse

FYI, Jhonny Nunez was part of the trade for Swisher, so he's off to the Windy City.

Posted by: JAlt0629 | November 14, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

This may sound totally off the wall, but has anyone considered the posibility that part of this Teixeira negotiations may be to signal to Boras that the Nats will be serious in relation to signing another of his clients (one who will be the first overall pick in the amateur draft)?

I personally don't think the Nats have any chance at Tex, but if they make a serious bid, could it signal to Boras that negotiations with Strassburg will not follow the same lines as last years debacle with Aaron (when doed happy hour start, 'cause I'm bored) Crow?

Posted by: TimDz | November 14, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Well, I'm not holding my breath either but all of this Tex talk is fun. Hey, if we got him, maybe we could we have an "E-I-E-I-OOOOH!" cheer when he hit one out?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | November 14, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe that the Yankees would settle for Nick Swisher as their first baseman. He's probably a backup/DH/outfield type for them.

Posted by: Brue | November 14, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

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