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Kasten on Teixeira Reports: Not So Fast

Nationals President Stan Kasten said today that reports -- including ours -- of a significant and imminent offer to free agent first baseman Mark Teixeira are highly premature, saying, "You're way ahead of us here."

While Kasten, as is typical, neither confirmed nor denied the Nationals' intentions regarding Teixeira -- or any other player, for that matter -- he felt compelled to quell the speculation that the Nationals, as we wrote last week, are preparing a "competitive" offer to Teixeira.

"I don't want people to have unrealistic expectations," Kasten said.

He seemed particularly perturbed that media and fans might interpret an offer to Teixeira as a ploy to gain credibility with the team's fan base.

My own take: The Nationals are still formulating the structure of the offer they plan to make to Teixeira. However, they also know they cannot compete with the likes of the Yankees, Red Sox and/or Angels when it comes to dollar figures. So they would like to get a better sense of Teixeira's true market before they make their pitch.

By Dave Sheinin  |  November 18, 2008; 1:44 PM ET
 
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Comments

Duly noted, Mr. Kasten. My hopes are most decidedly not up.

-----

"I don't want people to have unrealistic expectations," Kasten said.

Posted by: JohninMpls | November 18, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Ahh... the rhetoric that we all feared. They're simply not going to overwhelm Tex with a blow-away offer. Forget any ideas of him being in a Nats uniform next year. With the biggest fish in the market, Boras will be playing teams off of each other all winter and will be pressured from MLBPA to seek and accept the biggest offer.

At least for me, these comments take Tex out of even my wildest expectations. Queue the class B retreads. Who can say Kevin Millar? Yeech!

Posted by: RicketyCricket | November 18, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

They could compete if they wanted to. But they're saving all their dough to sign first round draft picks and international amateur free agents. Oh, wait....

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | November 18, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I understand that they cannot keep up with the Yankees and Red Sox in payroll. I understand that on a team wide basis. But this team has a payroll in the - call it $50M range. That is not even keeping up with Cincinnati, Cleveland, Milwaukee and Houston who were all at least $20M more than the Nats last year. We could add Tex at $20M and still be less than each of those cities payroll at under $75M. Conceivably, they should still be able to add payroll beyond that. Remember, Kasten said in the beginning that this could be an $80M annual payroll town or more based upon a number of factors (attendance being number 1).

I have not been on the LErners are Cheap bandwagon, but they need to start spending money at some point and a 29 year old, switch hitting, Gold Glove, power hitting 1B is a good place to start.

Posted by: NatsWin | November 18, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

New Posted / RePost:

It is hard not to explode with invective and name calling directed at those who respond to three rapid fire posts on the Post National Journals Webstie with the usual you didn't bring me any news bullhockey. I'm sorry, but there is an obvious and much appreciated effort being exerted by the Post to provide MLB and Nats news. They are emulating best practices by hundreds of other news organizations -- blogging (delivering news with attribution) on other sources information. That's what reporters do. They supplement this with good original news reporting in the paper (e.g., Sheinin's article re: Teixiera). It's November. America used to have to wait until February for baseball news. Point your lack of coverage cries where they belong: local broadcast media, MASN, and cable carriers. When you continue to complain to the one source that is helping, you cheapen the whole argument. And, if nothing they do pleases, why try.

Invective, @$%&@***!!!

Arghhhh!!!!

Posted by: natbisquit | November 18, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I believe that was coverage we just recieved.

Posted by: natbisquit | November 18, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Also, while slightly disheartened that the Nats are not declaring victory on the Teixeira sweepstakes, I would like to point out that almost every team except the Yankees takes this same approach pursuing Boras clients. "We're not going to pay a lot for that muffler" is a decidedly better approach to negotiating than "I will not be outbid". If you tell the media and the public that you are aggressively pursuing a free agent then the free agent has even more leverage. Anybody who has ever walked into an New Car showroom needs to be able to understand this concept.

Posted by: natbisquit | November 18, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Dave, more seriously than my initial snarky reaction, did Stan talk at all about why he believes Nats fans should be hopeful about the future? Because quite frankly, I just don't see it--most every other team is trying to do what the Nats are trying to do with building through the draft. There has been a lot of talk since Stan rolled into town. But to succeed, the Nats have to back up the talk, and do it better than most every other team--especially given the fact that the Nats started way behind every other team as a result of MLB's "stewardship."

There needs to be a sustained and overriding commitment to excellence on all fronts. Does Kasten believe that the Nats have demonstrated such a sustained commitment? I certainly don't, and I don't see the evidence to support it. And comments from Stan about having "unrealistic expectations" and implications that the Nats can't compete in signing a premier free agent (whether the free agent would want to sign here is a different matter) just reinforce the sense of hopelessness.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | November 18, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I have never been part of the Lerner's are cheap crowd but, if they don't make a significant offer to Tex, I will be. This guy fits the mold of what they want to build on. He's in his prime and under 30. This isn't 36 year old Manny or 33 year old Torri Hunter we are talking about here. I read Kasten's remarks as an early excuse for making a cheap offer and not landing Tex. If they make a great offer and he goes to Boston or LA. Fine. But please, for the love of pete don't lowball the guy and say "we made an offer we felt was fair" and insult your loyal fan base.

I understand they have been spending money on scouts and draft picks and the new stadium upgrades, etc. However, your payroll is lacking and we are entering season 4 with them as owners, and it is time they started to dig a little deeper into their pockets.

As Dennis Miller would say "Just my opinion, I could be wrong"

Posted by: Section505203 | November 18, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I guess it's unrealistic of me to expect a decent product when deciding to renew tickets. PEOPLE ARE TIRED OF THE CHEAP WAY THIS TEAM IS RUN. Are the people running this team stupid? I am a die hard, have had tix (full package) every year. If they're starting to turn me off I can only imagine what a casual person thinks. Oh wait, The answer is in the attendance and rating on the TV. These owners better wake up. People will come based on results, not broken promises.

One more thing Why is Jim Bowden still the gm of this team. The guy is a fricken @$$ clown!

Posted by: JDB1 | November 18, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

CiL

While I agree that there could be more done, to make us at least respectable, I'm not sure Stan isn't making a good point here. To simply state the intention of signing Texeria does not guarantee that it is a) possible b) workable. I think he is spot on to say that the Nat's can make as good an offer as possible and no more. Sure, if that means the man signs then great for us, if not, there are other options. I'm sure that the front office has people who read blogs, and frankly Nat's fans have become totally obsessed with Mark Texeria, as if he was the second coming, and the only hope for this organisation. Think of this, two out of the Yankee's Angle's and Red Sox will also fail to sign Texeria this post season, and no one could question their will and commitment to winning. Signing bad contracts with one superstar has not had a great track record as a way to win (A-Rod, Cabrera, Helton, Manny, Soriano, Zito [oops, strike that last one]).

So maybe by realistic what he means is that the Nat's may do everything they can and still fall short in the Tex sweepstakes. It doesn't mean that they don't care enough. Or that eventually we won't compete. Frankly this is a blip compared to drafting a guy that didn't even want to sign with the organisation.

Posted by: soundbloke | November 18, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Also, we should fire Jim Bowden. That would show commitment to the future!

Posted by: soundbloke | November 18, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Please assure Mr. Kasten that no one really expects the Nationals to sign Teixeira. If he pulls it off, that will be great, but frankly I think there is a greater chance that the Lerners will give back to the District the liquidated damages that they soaked them for...

Posted by: muddapucker | November 18, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

.......

AHEM

.......

Thank you, Dave, for doing some checking up for us, as we have been requesting.

Posted by: Section506 | November 18, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

heh, heh. Good one, JiM. I agree.

No worries there, Mr. Kasten. Expectations of the team and management are quite low at this point. Shame on us for hoping.

Posted by: NatsNut | November 18, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

soundbloke, I agree with most of what you said. Teixeira is not the "be all and end all." The problem for me--and the difference here between the Nats and the other franchises you mentioned--is that the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels ownership have all demonstrated they are committed to building a winning team. They may in fact care enough as you state, but the Lerners/Kasten have not, in my view demonstrated through their actions that they are similarly committed. They almost act nonchalant, with an attitude like, "yeah, we'll try to get better, and if success falls down from the sky and lands on our heads, that would be great, but we're not going to lose any sleep about it if it doesn't happen." They have not demonstrated any sense of intensity or urgency.

Also I agree with you that the Crow situation outweighs this one--so my view is that we have to look at this situation in light of things that have already happened, including Crow. I'm not banging the drums that it is Teixeira or bust. As I stated in my earlier message, I just want to know that the Lerners/Kasten are trying really hard to do *something* to make this team better and that should give us hope for the future. I haven't seen it, and Kasten's comments are yet another indication (even if just a blip) of the growing sense of hopelessness that seems to have enveloped this franchise.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | November 18, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

The problem is that they need a stoked farm system ready and waiting before they can do that. That is at least two years away, so in the minds of the Lerners why waste the money being respectable when we are only going to be spinning our wheels for two years anyway. Save the money from two years of paying for a decent team, when you'll get scant reserves anyway.

The thing is that you and I will still be cheering for this team no matter what they do, and the fair weathers will be back when things look up.

Fact is, they aren't wrong when it comes to be free agents. They are wrong about so many things such as decent contracts for make weight players (Young, Belliard, Guzman, Kearns) they are wrong for not scouting their draft picks better (Crow) and they are wrong for keeping a manager that no one else respects(you get the picture).

Kills me to write though because this team is just making me miserable right now.

Posted by: soundbloke | November 18, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

People have to remember something...

The media is a part of the marketplace. Perhaps not the principle part... but it is an information channel... and it is in the interests of the various parties to manage the content of that channel.

It clearly isn't in the interest of the Nats to telegraph their interest in Teixeira - especially if there are numbers attached to it. If the Nats don't address rumors that they're preparing a $220 million offer, and they offer $180 million, what do Teixeira and Boras think of that offer?

Contrast that strategy with the Yankees, who apparently want Sabathia very badly, and would rather overbid by a bit but at the same time, chill the marketplace. For them, having a number out there makes perfect sense.

The bottom line is, nothing has changed. The Nats are as committed today as they were a week ago to signing Teixeira. Whether that means they are serious, who knows. Until there's a press release, the numbers (and the associated gauge of interest) is simply rumor and speculation. And in Kasten's mind, it is contrary to their interests to leave the speculation out there without addressing it. That makes perfect business sense to me.

I don't know if the Nats are serious about signing Tex... but this isn't really news, when you think about it.

Posted by: wigi | November 18, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The voice of reason speaks. Thanks Wigi!

Posted by: soundbloke | November 18, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

OK soundbloke, that's where I disagree with you. I don't believe in the "over-the-top" theory of free agency. If you can get a player as young as and as good as Teixeira--who likely has many prime years ahead of him--then you try to do it. You may never develop a guy like Teixeira internally, and who's to say that you can get a similar guy like him down the road when the farm system is stocked (and again what indication do we have that it ever will be stocked, given things like the Crow debacle and not signing any top international amateurs).

But anyway, forget about Teixeira. I'm not directing this specifically to you now: I just want the argument why--based on things that the Lerners/Kasten have actually done--I should be hopeful about the future, and be assured that they are really committed to trying to turn things around. Because I haven't seen it, and I haven't seen an indication that they care very much about how bad things are. Teixeira is one way that they could ease the sense of hopelessness, but there are of course others. On the other hand, comments about not having "unrealistic expectations" just reinforce how miserable we already feel about this team.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | November 18, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Look, I agree that the Nats are likely not going to get Tex. I can understand and appreciate that. What I can't understand is not being ready to make an offer to him. I negotiate for a living. I understand that their are tactics involved in putting together a bid and when you do it. IMO, saying that the Nats providing a "competitive" offer to Tex is setting "unrealistic expectations" is NOT good enough. They should give him a competitive offer. He fits the Plan AND he fills a serious hole in the lineup and the playing field. It is not like we have anyone up and coming to fill that gap either.

One player does not make a team, but buying leftovers does not make you a 4 star restaurant either. You need to have high quality ingredients. It does not have to be Tex, but he is the right kind of player and you could sign him for 5-7 years and he would still be relatively young.. I am worried that a trade for another player would ultimately cost more in terms of monir league prospects and even ML ready players. Also, there are not any other free agent 1B out there that I would want.

Posted by: NatsWin | November 18, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

For what its worth, according to the Baltimore Sun, Boras told the Orioles that he would get back to them when they were ready to talk 'particulars', so at this point I'm not sure that anyone has made real substantial offers to Texiera yet because that isn't the way Boras works.

As far as expectations, I don't necessarily expect the Nats to be successful getting him, but I do expect a real effort to upgrade the team into a team which fields major league players for the major league prices they charge for tickets. That isn't an unreasonable expectation. And they didn't do that in 2008.

Posted by: raymitten | November 18, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Fair enough. You bested me well and truly so I'll give you a reason to smile.

The Nat's since last July have made greater leaps and bound to being a decent organisation than in the previous two and a half. We have got a team that is younger, more athletic and have three or four decent prospects that could break through. it seems like rumbling are restarting in the international leagues.

We are making a legitimate attempt to sign the top free agent on the market and just made our first trade with an aim to play respectable ball and increase payroll. It's not much of a reason to cheer but, it's something.

I tried. If that doesn't work, think of Smiley Gonzalez and the fact that Filipe Lopez will never wear a curly W again.

Posted by: soundbloke | November 18, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I agree with NatsWin and CiL. Don't understand why Nats can't compete in dollar terms with Yanks, Red Sox, and Angels, at least on a one-off case for someone like Tex. Our farm system is not fully stocked yet, so big-name FA acquisitions rather than trades should be the way to go. Yes, I understand that Stan has to be careful in public statements, given that Boras and Tex are part of his audience, but the Nats' fan base is part of that audience, too, and these are mighty discouraging times.

Posted by: CapPeterson | November 18, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Soundbloke, you at least did make me smile, so thanks for that. I had to make an agreement with my wife that if we are going to renew our season tickets, I have to be positive about the Nats and not let them make me miserable any more. Well, this is going to be tougher than I even imagined. Note that I have not pulled the trigger yet.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | November 18, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Stan,

Let me get this straight, you're willing to spend around 12.5 million a year in backup catchers and fatso diabetics, but not 20 million a year for a middle of the order switch hitter? Yeah? Sounds like a winning formula.

The whole front office needs to go. No one in their right mind would pay to see this team play.

Posted by: BillyBeane | November 18, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I am not at all surprised by Kasten's remarks. It is just more of the same I wish this team was never sold to the Lerners. Some Predictions:

(1) Nats make a half hearted effort to sign Tex which appeases the die hard fans because the Lerner's tried. It seems as long as they try all is well.
(2) Nats do not sign any major international players this year.
(3) Nats do not make any additional trades which might have a significant impact on this year's team.
(4) Nats do not draft Strasburg but draft second round level players in first round for sign-ability purposes.
(5) Nats sign approximately half of those drafted including 50% of the top ten.
(6) Kasten resigns this year.
(7) Bowden gets contact extension.
(8) Acta gets fired by Bowden.
(9) The team loses between 80 -90 games this year.
(10) Attendance averages below 20,000 a game this year.

We currently have the worst ownership in this franchise's history. I know from which I speak as I have been a fan of this team since 1969.

Posted by: mjames0 | November 18, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Good news travels fast. See MLBTradeRumors for this juicy tidbit added to Sheinin's report:

"It's possible the Nationals will never get around to offering Teixeira a contract. The Yankees could start the bidding sky high, like they did with CC Sabathia."

Posted by: RicketyCricket | November 18, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Stan!? The season ticket renewal date is like 2 days away and you drop the "don't have unrealistic expectations" bomb now? Come on.

Posted by: dfh1234 | November 18, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I say pay Teixeira exactly 25 mil a year, that way Angelos will know that it is his TV money that is paying for him.!

In fact, have Angelos send the check directly to Teixeira!

Posted by: cabraman | November 18, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

You no what i'm a huge nats fan but mjames0 BillyBeane are right you'll spend 20 million on loduca estrada mackowiak fatso injured nick and kearns but not an ALL STAR GOLD GLOVE FIRST BASEMAN STAN YOUR A MORAN! I hope angelos overpays for him and he goes the o's and the nats will lose more of their fans. The nats are SO DAMN STUPID. By the way if you can fire bowden to.

Posted by: Baseball95der26 | November 18, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Aw, but it was such good snark! Don't sell yourself short.

Seriously, though, how jittery is this fanbase? We've seen tepid responses to previous posts, and then the slightest hint that the Nats may not land Tex and BOOM! Our dissapointment has created a hair-trigger for our anger.

You reap what you sow.

-----

Dave, more seriously than my initial snarky reaction, did Stan talk at all about why he believes Nats fans should be hopeful about the future?

Posted by: JohninMpls | November 18, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

It's farcical to think the Lerners are the worst owners in this franchise's history. Jeffrey Loria, when he owned the Expos, single-handedly shut the door on baseball in Montréal forever by failing to negotiate ANY English language media deals for the team, after his plans for a new publicly funded stadium fell through. He couldn't wait to unload the franchise so he could get his hands on public money in Miami, which, finally, it appears he has don, and the commish let him do it. And then there was the period when the Expos/Nationals were owned by MLB, which of all the embarrassing things to come out of Bud Selig's tenure, I think this is the most egregious. Allowing Loria to take all the scouting reports and equipment with him to Florida, allowing Loria to boot the Expos out of their posh spring training home in Jupiter in exchange for the old Marlins' place in Melbourne, refusing to allow September call-ups when the team was on the fringe of the wild card hunt ... the Lerners still have a looong way to go before they approach the kind of awful ownership levels attained by Loria and MLB.

Posted by: mjhoya12 | November 18, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

That was a bad choice on Kasten's part. While I wholeheartedly support "The Plan," I also believe that the time has come for the team to throw the fans a bone. The Nationals need to do something to say "we're really trying here."

Posted by: rushfari | November 18, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I stand by my comment on the Lerner's. Yes Loria is a scum bag but his Marlins franchise seems to be performing better than the Lerner's mess. The Lerner's have had two years to give the fans at least some hope and they have failed miserably.

The Lerner's are far worse than Loria and MLB because they have the ability to do something and have done NOTHING. Don't give me this bs about the Plan. Look at the Crow 2008 draft class fiasco. In addition they have been gifted a new $600mm facility at a nominal lease rate.

Posted by: mjames0 | November 18, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

i fully agree with mjhoya12. as a long term franchise fan I have lived the poor ownership. Insult to injury watching Sizemore, lee winning the cy young and so on

Posted by: Enrico1 | November 18, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Please remember that the Lerners are businessmen first. They squeeze a dime so tight they make FDR scream. Its about profit.

Does anyone believe that they really want to sign Teixeira or do they think that the Lerners want to promote the image that they want to sign Teixeira?

Its about public perception.

As for me, I will not renew my season tix (20 game plan). My main complaint is that I have a problem sitting in the upper infield gallery at an affordable price when I can look down and see the best seats unoccupied.

It smacks of elitism. There was a time when a man could take his son to the ball game and splurge for the best seats in the house. Not any more, you have them bought up by scalpers and corporate interests...

Okay, I can play the silly game! Next year no season tickets. I will go 5 times (tix from Stub Hub)instead of 20 times (tix from the Nationals) and get better seats and better treatment and eat and drink at the special clubs not available to the masses...

Its all about money... I know it, you know it and the Lerners know it, but lets pretend its all about the boys of summer and our national past time. Its a better sell.

Posted by: muddapucker | November 18, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

ok, just so we're not working on a false premise...

===
However, your payroll is lacking and we are entering season 4 with them as owners, and it is time they started to dig a little deeper into their pockets.
===

no, they're entering their *third* full season. that first season you refer to is just a half-season, starting the end of june. they didn't have an opportunity to make any offseason decisions until after that season.

Posted by: sec231 | November 18, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Please remember that the Lerners are businessmen first. They squeeze a dime so tight they make FDR scream. Its about profit.

--------------------------------------

I will bet any of the handfull of fans that remain in five years that the Learners will sell this team. That is why they want to keep the payroll so low. It is all about the profit.

The trade with the Fish last week was the teams big move for the offseason.

We have bird owners: Cheap, Cheap, Cheap.

Posted by: Batboy05 | November 18, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Tex is NOT the savior. The Nats need pitching. That is where the dollars should be spent!

Posted by: 8andeight | November 18, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

>Tex is NOT the savior. The Nats need pitching. That is where the dollars should be spent!<

If they acquire any more pitching, it will have to be through a trade, because there really isn't much out there in FA, outside of the top few, and even if the Nats did make an offer to one of them, it wouldn't be for the long term anyway. The excuse that they need to buy pitching instead of a bat is just another excuse. TEX-XY TEX-XY MAN-NY MAN-NY

Posted by: Brue | November 19, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Sec 231,

You are splitting hairs. OK, 3rd full season plus the half season in 2006, great, whatever. My point remains the same. They need to start digging a little deeper. I'm a plan guy, I agree with the building from within but, the time has come to spend a little as well. This franchise is not Cincinnati, it is a top 10 market.

Posted by: Section505203 | November 19, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

No offense, but Teixeira is not coming to DC. Why even talk about it? Its irrelevant.

As for pitching... I doubt we get much more than what we got. Maybe another FA aquisition of the Odalis Perez kind, but no major aquisition.

Look for a journey man pitcher than has some upside value if things work out right.

This team has a history of taking chances on players that have an upside if things work out. Nats are always looking for a bargain. About forty percent it works, about forty percent it doesn't and about twenty percent its a wash.

Overall, it limits managements exposure and puts a new product on the field each year.

Overall, though, its one step forward and two steps backwards.

I love Manny Acta. I think he's a great manager. Steady. A players manager. I doubt he will stick much longer with this bargain basement mentality search for players. Look for him to say "Adios" at the end of his contract.

When Manny says "goodbye", that will make a major statement, particularly to the Latins. They have a great deal of respect for him. When Manny says I have had enough, so will his Dominican countrymen and Latin American players...

As for Teixeira and the Nats, it isn't serious, never was serious and ain't going to happen. We might as well be talking about Manny Ramirez or CC Sabathia. The Nats are contenders.

Posted by: muddapucker | November 19, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I would have thought this was ironic, but the rest of the post makes me doubt it.
Too funny ... excuse me, "to funy".

**************
STAN YOUR A MORAN! ... By the way if you can fire bowden to.
Posted by: Baseball95der26 | November 18, 2008 5:24 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | November 19, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

he he, that occurred to me as well, CE.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | November 20, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

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