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Teixeira Watch: Why It Might Be a Long Winter

First of all, let me ask you this: Does Teixeira news (or non-news, as the case may be) belong here -- or over in that other blog? In other words, do you feel strongly enough about the Nationals' level of interest in Mark Teixeira to want to read about other teams' pursuits of him in this space?

For now, I'm making the executive decision that we'll discuss all things Teixeira here at NJ, at least until we determine whether the Nationals are true players in this market, or just in it for show, or not in it at all. (Frankly, at this point I'm not sure which is the case -- though I suspect different people at different levels of the Nationals' hierarchy view it differently based upon how close they are to the franchise's purse-strings.)

Here's the thing: I think the Teixeira sweepstakes will go deep into December, if not January. Already we're nearly a week into free agency, and to the best of anyone's knowledge there have been no offers made. In fact, teams are going out of their way to say they are not actively pursuing Teixeira, even though we know better. This is all part of the annual dance that is free agency.

Scott Boras, Teixeira's agent, is notoriously methodical when it comes to his biggest clients. Usually, his hope is that, by waiting, he can get the New York Yankees (or in their absence, some other big-money team) involved. That might be a particularly good strategy this winter, as the Yankees clearly have a lot of money to spend, and may not be able to use it to entice their top choice.


As everyone knows, the Yankees want C.C. Sabathia. Their blow-him-away offer, made on the first day of free agency, is believed to have been for six years, $140 million, which would be a record for a pitcher. The fact Sabathia hasn't jumped at it yet? It is widely interpreted to mean, deep down, he doesn't really want to pitch in New York and is looking for a good reason -- i.e., a reasonably similar offer from a team closer to his Bay Area home -- to turn it down.

I have been told the Yankees can't afford both Sabathia and Teixeira (together, they could cost upwards of $300 million) -- which is one reason they made a pre-emptive strike by trading for Nick Swisher, whom they would be happy to have as their regular first baseman next season. But maybe they could afford Derek Lowe and Teixeira, or A.J. Burnett and Teixeira. In other words, if Sabathia chooses to go somewhere else, it is entirely possible the Yankees could seek to use that money to upgrade their offense. Hello, Mark Teixeira. This, at least, is Boras's dream scenario.

No, actually, Boras's dream scenario is to have both the Yankees and Boston Red Sox fighting over Teixiera, which seems entirely plausable given the Red Sox's scarcely hidden interest. There is no better way to drive up a free agent's price. (See: Contreras, Jose, 2003.)

And let's not forget that the Los Angeles Angels still regard re-signing Teixeira as their biggest priority, and that the Baltimore Orioles could make a serious run as well.

As for the Nationals? Well, as Stan Kasten said, you're way ahead of us here.

At this point, no one appears to be ready to step up with an offer to Teixeira, as it probably would only be used to drive up the market while everyone waits to see what the Yankees will do. And what the Yankees will do depends in large part upon what Sabathia does. And what Sabathia does depends in large part upon what a handful of west coast teams -- the Dodgers, probably the Giants and possibly the Angels -- do.

In other words: Hunker down for a long winter, if you have your sights set on Teixeira.


By Dave Sheinin  |  November 20, 2008; 10:38 AM ET
 
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Comments

Boras and Bowden probably don't even have each other's phone numbers...

That said, I'd like to follow the Texeira saga here, keeping hope alive.

Posted by: fischy | November 20, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Yeah we need to follow this...The Nats have REAL interst in Tex, will they get him? will the price be too steep? who knows, but that does not mean it is not part of covering this team.

Think back to the Lerners buying the team, they stay quiet and make a strong offer to the party involved.

Posted by: JLR75 | November 20, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Of course you should keep the conversation here. Thanks!

But seriously, Teixeira will never be a National.

Posted by: NatsNut | November 20, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

If the news is about Teixeira, as long as the Nats are pursuing Teixeira, then the news belongs on National Journal.

Posted by: jdsp2000 | November 20, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Dave,
Can you pose a question to Stan next time you guys talk? If no Tex, then what is their back-up plan? I for one, can't handle another game with Belliard at first. Thanks.

Posted by: jctichen | November 20, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

When I started reading this - I was hopeful that the Nats would - at the very least - make a strong offer to Teix.

But as I got further into it - I am not truly concerned about the Nats. Doesn't every other major league team have organizational meetings at the end of the season to put together a roadmap for the team's future? And shouldn't a firm direction on a player like Teixera be a part of that roaadmap - at least to the point of knowing whether or not you will pursue him and for what dollar amount? If the Nats cannot agree in house what to do - we're all in for another long season.

Posted by: comish4lif | November 20, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

It is being reported by MLB.com (Ladson) that Tex has a real interest in the Nats. Things are now starting to fall into place. Based on this information I am confident the following will take place:

(1) Lerners will be forced to make an offer to Tex.
(2) The offer will be $160 and ten years.
(3) The Nats will lose out (their fingers crossed) to Boston or the Yankees who will bid $180mm for ten years.
(4) The Nats will sign Griffey as their main FA acquisition.
(5) The Nats will not be successful in completing any additional trades.
(6) Bowden will confirm that they were very active but did not complete any trades because they could not get full value for the players they were willing to trade. Concerning the FA signings, the Nats made very good bids but the winning offers were off market.
(8) Bowden will confirm that Griffey is a hall of famer and will make a major contribution to the clubhouse.


Prediction = 63- 99

Assessment = Job well done by the Nats.

Posted by: mjames0 | November 20, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

For the record - I have no interest in a broken down Ken Griffey, Jr. Who sits? Willingham, Dukes or Milledge?

Now, if we could get Hoffman for a little help and tutoring in the bullpen, I'd support that.

Posted by: comish4lif | November 20, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm also of the mind that, for as long as the Nats are (at least theoretically) in the running, Tex news belongs here. Might as well keep the stove stoked if it's going to be a long winter. Thanks for asking.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | November 20, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Teixeira will sign by 12/31/2008 and he will receive a massive signing bonus paid in 2008.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | November 20, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Why does the Post have two baseball blogs? Just put everything into one, please. Makes it easier for readers.

Posted by: AshburnVA | November 20, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Oh no he didn't... :-D

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | November 20, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

commish4lif...

The nats do have a very serious and specific plan for the offseason and the free agents, just becasue Kasten does not want to share it with the Post or anyone else does not mean it is not there.

We know this about the Lerners and their companies they plan very carefully and rarely reveal thier plans or dealings to anyone especially the press. Good decions, bad decision, positve moves for the team, negative ones...thier MO always is the same.

Posted by: JLR75 | November 20, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Tex updates should stay here. I think the interest is real (mutually) and there is a good chance Tex will come here. My read on Kasten's comments was really more to cover his butt if Tex chooses another team over the Nats offer.

What about Adam Dunn??

On a more cheerful note, Chase Utley is out 4 - 6 months for hip surgery. You reap what you sew.

http://www.delawareonline.com/blogs/2008/11/nov-20-breaking-surgery-for-utley-feliz.html

Posted by: raymitten | November 20, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

If the news has even a a whiff of relation to the Nationals it belongs here. Anything inside of 6 degrees of separation belongs here. Let's say a Coco Crisp gets traded to the Roayls, Jose Guillen played with the Roayals last year, Jose Guillen was a National in 2006, therefore Coco Crisp getting traded to the Royals is Nationals news. Or, a former Tampa reliever signs with the Cardinals, Elijah Dukes was once with Tampa, therefore the Cardinals signing a reliever is Nationals news. Or the Phillies steal an executive away from the Orioles, many Nationals fans hate the Orioles and the Phillies, therefor its Nationals news. Or a black man is elected president, and moves to Washignton, the Nationals play in Washington, ....

Posted by: natbisquit | November 20, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

hmmm, interesting, natbisquit. That causes me to ponder, who would be best Nats player for a (Six Degrees of) Kevin Bacon-style game? Maybe a LOOGY like Mike Stanton would be the most useful in that regard. Maybe an older player who's been around a bit.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | November 20, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, guess it's been done, and it all came back to the Phillies (thanks, Google, and sorry, 506).

http://smwwjapan.wordpress.com/2008/10/17/six-degrees-of-charlie-manuel/

On a somewhat related note, the blog entry that I turned up puts me in mind of an interesting and funny book that I turned up at a recent library book sale: Robert Whiting's "You Gotta Have Wa." It deals with the concept of unity and team spirit in Japanese baseball, and Manuel is just one of the cast of American characters. It would be even better if it had an index but what book wouldn't be? (Nats degree of separation: Wonder what ever happened to Rick Short? I heard at one point that he went to play baseball in Japan. Those were some fun times at RFK when he was called up.)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | November 20, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

PowerBoater - Dang! I wanted to be IRS commissioner!

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | November 20, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Teixeira is about as likely to be starting at first base for my softball team next April as he is to be in one of those ugly new Nats uniforms.

I don't care where you post this stuff, but let's not be delusional here, people.

Posted by: pondaz | November 20, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I loved the Rick Short story! I was at RFK the night he finally made it out of the minors and watched him get a great hit. The crowd, thanks to a Washington Post article about him, knew what was happening and just went crazy. He was sent down shortly thereafter. I understand the Nats were going to have him play in Arizona during the winter but he got injured. We need a "Where Is he Now?" story about him. He'd love it that we remember him with such fondness.

Posted by: Natsgal | November 20, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Dunno if this has been posted before, but Fangraphs estimates a rational Teixeira contract at 7 years, $171 million. here's the analysis:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/free-agent-values-mark-teixeira/

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | November 20, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Dave, Tracee, Chico, et al.,
It might be fun to see how many of the Sputtering Class you can goad into apoplexy by repeated mentions of teams not based here.
Just sayin.
"This is a game of fear and ignorance."

Posted by: CEvansJr | November 20, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

That would be cool, Natsgal. For the time being, there's Barry's Where Are They Now item from May:

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal/2008/05/the_one_that_got_away_and_wher.html

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | November 20, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

@Powerboater -- When you're going to be making as much money as Teixera, what's a few more percentage points on taxes. He'll still keep more than he can ever spend.

Posted by: fischy | November 20, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

It belongs here, as does all other free agent/trade rumors, speculation, etc.
I'm well aware of the fact that 90% of the crap that gets floated every winter winds up being false, but Nats fans need every bit of good "news" we can get; truth is we probably won't land Sexy Texy or any other blue chipper, but it's fun to dream while it's all still up in the air, so keep the discussion here.

Posted by: ajtrue78 | November 21, 2008 1:36 AM | Report abuse

Mjames0:
First, I think if the Nats offer Tex 160 for 10, the entire front office should be taken out behind the shed and shot. 180 for ten probably won't get it done, not for the Nats for sure, probably not for the bigger teams. Tex will wind up getting closer to $200m for 10, and the Nats are doing nothing but feeding us BS if they try to make an "offer" for less than $18m a year.

Posted by: ajtrue78 | November 21, 2008 1:44 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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