More Thoughts on Teixeira
Now that we've all had some time to digest the news of the Nationals' apparent intention to pursue Mark Teixeira, let's step back and look at the big picture:
*Yes, it is the longest of longshots, and people outside of Washington may be laughing about it. But the Nationals can make a pretty interesting appeal to Teixeira, which might sound something like this (and I'm not saying I necessarily believe all this):
"Mark, you are a once-in-a-lifetime player, especially to a franchise like ours. The Nationals see you as the foundation, someone with deep local ties who could be the face of our franchise for the next [six/eight/ten] years. We will build this team around you, and when we're ready to win it all - and we're closer than people think - you will have been part something truly special.
"Nowhere else in baseball can give you what you can get here, Mark. We're not only just down the road from your hometown. We're also the nation's capital. You'll have congressmen and Supreme Court justices watching you nightly. You might be a regular guest at the White House, given the President-Elect's love of sports.
"Face it: You can never own L.A., or Boston - at least not as long as Kobe and Tom Brady are alive. But you can own this town, Mark. It yours if you want it."
*Of course, all those words might mean nothing if Teixeira and agent Scott Boras are all about the bottom line, and given Boras's history there is every reason to think they will be.
But remember this: While in Atlanta, Stan Kasten once circumvented Boras and negotiated Andruw Jones's contract extension with the player himself. Hmmm.
*I think the Yankees truly are out of the running, although that can always change - especially if Boras goes into his typical four-corners offense in hopes of dragging them back in. If Teixeira is still around in late January, the Yankees could always pounce. They might also want to keep up the perception that they're in on him, even if they're not, in hopes of driving up the price for a division rival (Boston or Baltimore).
But yesterday morning, someone familiar with the Yankees' offseason strategy told me they were out on Teixeira, and I didn't believe it, figuring it was mere posturing. A few hours later, they announced the Swisher deal. Swisher is the perfect solution for them, because in addition to first base he also plays all three outfield positions, which means they can give Jorge Posada some occasional playing time at first base. You can't do that with Teixiera.
And believe it or not, the Yankees' resources are not unlimited. They will probably spend in excess of $200 million on two pitchers - my guess is C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett - but they can't do that and give another $200 million to Teixeira.
*The Nationals' chief competitors might be just up the road in Baltimore. Someone who speaks to Peter Angelos regularly told me that he has never seen him so fixated on a player as he is on Teixeira. Others have told me that Angelos has been asking everyone in baseball what they think of Teixeira.
My educated guess is that the Orioles will end up making the highest bid for Teixeira.
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