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Back To Where We Were

So wait - did the last 24 hours even happen? Seemingly not. Yesterday, the baseball world held the general consensus that Boston was most likely to be Mark Teixeira's next home. Then, last night, the Sox leadership trio met with Scott Boras, tried to hammer out a deal, divorced with some ugly final words... and now everybody I talk to today still thinks the Sox are in the mix, same as ever.

If you have the time, wander over to the Baseball Insider blog and check out Boswell's thoughts on these developments. His basic theory, in a nutshell: Agents lie, but owners collude. In other words, Boras wants baseball to believe some team has offered a 10-year deal to his client. Boston owner John Henry feels confident enough that no other owner has broken rank and exceeded the current go-'round of eight-year offers. It all makes for a fascinating game of chicken.

So far, no drastic developments today. I can tell you this. Nats GM Jim Bowden is hunkered down this afternoon at his office in DC (no Dallas hotel meeting), but has no desire to talk on the subject. Meanwhile, the Nationals are waiting-waiting-waiting. Do they suddenly see themselves as frontrunners for Teixeira? No, not if you ask them with a Bible in hand. But they've come this far -- a perception-altering achievement in itself, especially when you consider that the Lerners make their money in the suffering real estate business... and had never, until now, thrown around such a mighty contract offer. They did so because they are deadly serious.

A few other tidbits from the day...

* We have some indications that Boston's Thursday night proposal to Teixeira was lower than the $184 million that was originally reported. Maybe in the range of $165 or $170 million over eight years.

* Interesting look here from SI's Lee Jenkins about the lone reason Scott Boras might be inclined to hurry things along.

By Chico Harlan  |  December 19, 2008; 4:53 PM ET
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Next: Teixeira Watch


There are two reasons that everyone still views Boston as the front runners: First and foremost, no one in the baseball 'know' can fathom the thought of the 'lowly' Nationals that 'nobody comes to see' landing Texiera. Second, the Red Sox may really be the front runners.

At this point, I don't read anything that tells me that anybody knows more about the negotiations than I do, which is to say nothing. Their guess is no better than mine. One thing I do know about baseball is that it ain't over 'til its over!

Posted by: Section314 | December 19, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

The Red Sox have closed at least 3 major deals with Boras since 2004: Varitek's 4 year, $40 deal in 2004, Drew's 5 year, $70 million deal in '06-'07, and Dice-K's 6 years, $52m deal that same offseason (the famous $51 million to his Japanese team was contingent on him signing and Boras did not get a cut). They also let Manny out of his 2 option years so he could hit the market this year, and let Varitek walk when Boras asked for Posada money and length this year.

I think part of the reason people think Tex may end up with Boston is that they have shown the capacity to deal with him. He knows they will walk if the number is not in their range and they will say yes if the number is right to them. Does not sound profound, but it is usually tougher to negotiate against someone you don't know or who is less skilled / less well represented.

The Boston reporter who said the Red Sox had offered 8 years, $184m (Mike Lynch) may have gotten that number from Boras as the number he'd say yes to. The Sox were not forthcoming. The Olney /Gammons number is the number the Sox put out to their media negotiators. Just guessing, but with the talk of the Nats going above the initial 8 years, $160m, perhaps it is the Nats who are at the number that Boras is shopping, or maybe he perceives he can get from the Nats if he tries to close a deal.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | December 19, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Not that it matters, but with the NYY adding CC & Burnett to their roster, their 40-man now holds 41 players - who did they waive/option?

Posted by: BinM | December 19, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Chico, just outta curiosity, what's the hit count been on NJ this week with all the Tex stuff?

Posted by: Juan-John | December 19, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

jca: The 8/$184M number is a $23M AAV - You might be right in thinking that is Boras' negotiating number, since no-one has offered a 9th or 10th year.

Posted by: BinM | December 19, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Good job on that link to the numbers article. That makes more sense than anything yet, and would explain John Boy Henry's reaction. Somewhat, anyway. It really seems like he thought he could breeze in there and dictate terms, but Ol Ballgame seems to be writing the script. It's all coming out now - Ted has been doing this for 60 years, and he finally has a chance in a big forum.

Get in there Ted. All the way in there.

Posted by: Brue | December 19, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

This is the most brilliant description of the situation I have read yet. Hats off, no snark, I laughed for at least a minute straight:

"First and foremost, no one in the baseball 'know' can fathom the thought of the 'lowly' Nationals that 'nobody comes to see' landing Texiera. Second, the Red Sox may really be the front runners."

Posted by: Section506 | December 19, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

304 - Your opening salvo to this thread got a chuckle or two from me as well; Basically, none of the talking heads think at this time of year, they just react.

Just finished with some prior thread dredging: First to 506, Scooter, and others - thanks for jumping on the WMP at 1B wagon; the more, the merrier, and how would it hurt the team if he spent some extra time in Viera?

Second, regarding the OF glut - There are some #1-capable SP's out there as trade possibiles (Cain-SF, Oswalt-HOU, Bueherle-CWS & some others). Hopefully, the Nats' FO is already looking at making a move on one of them, targeting a team lacking in our perceived strength.

Posted by: BinM | December 19, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

After the Red Sox manhandled Boras on Dice-K, if he is really trying to bluff them on Tex, he may as well roll over and get his tummy scratched on Manny because the Dodgers and Angels would be fools to take him seriously.

Posted by: ArlingtonNatsFan | December 19, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Isn't collusion against the law? Or is it just against the CBA?
Just asking, because I understand it's a sin (merely, under these circumstances) to tell a lie.

Posted by: CEvansJr | December 19, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

If the Nationals are the ones with the $184 million offer--$23m annual--and Boston backed off, then why doesn't Boras announce today that Teixeira is coming to DC unless they are using Ted Lerner to drive up the bidding. It makes sense that the Lerners would make the offer. Once you go to 8 yrs/160 or $20 million annually--what really is the difference in annual salary to go to $23/184. Ted Lerner doesn't have Youkilis and Lowell to fall back on--which is one big motivator--but he also doesn't have a payroll that is probably already at close to $150 million, so he has more motivation to go higher and more payroll flexibility as well. And I don't think the Orioles have the cash, so I think it boils down to whether Teixeira is willing to take the DC offer or whether he goes back to the Red Sox or Orioles and plays for less--or he does like Sabathia and says all the stuff about playing at home is bull and signs with the Angels who are not the East Coast team Tex says he wants. I think Ted Lerner is willing to go all in on this one, but I wonder whether it will matter.

Posted by: Juliasdad | December 19, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

I hate when I forget to put my boots on before wading into this thread.

Posted by: mike8 | December 19, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Capital C collusion isn't allowed, but wink-nod collusion, well, that's just the baseball offseason.

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 19, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Chico - Would you ask JimBo if the team has any plans to pursue Japanese pitchers Kawakami and Uehara? They both seem like nice immediate fits, although they are a bit older. Perhaps as a bridge to Smoker and McGeary. Or is JimBo satisfied with the internal lefty options like Hinckley so there's no need for Uehara? Kawakami has been compared to Kuroda and is regarded as a better prospect. Do they have a scout in Asia? Could you give them tips about Australia?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | December 19, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

First, are you all sure that this isn't on ABC at 3PM. Sure looks like soap opera to me.

The Ironic thing is that so many of the various writers, bloggers, pundits, simply dismiss the Nats as "losers" without looking at the team, itself. Let's take an honest look.

1. Catcher. Clutch hitter who is top end at handling pitchers and is at the beginning of his career.

2. 3B. Potential among the top 2 or three players in that position. Additionally, a gold glove 1B cuts down on some of the "errors" and will allow Zimm to maybe take even more chances.

3. A coming "big bopper" in the outfield. With Dukes between Tex and Zimm, even being a little weak in the corner OF spots, Smiley being 3 years away, the Nats have a potential very good lineup beginning in '10.

4. Add all of this to a plethora of strong, young arms in the minors, the decision may come down to: Do you want to win now and in the next couple of years, before the current leaders get old, or do you want to tie yourself to a team that could easily contend for a decade, essentially the bulk of your most productive years? Let's remind ourselves that the "best" team in our division just signed, to a two year contract, a pitcher who can go directly from the majors to the Ponce 48+ league.

Posted by: Catcher50 | December 19, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

jca: While the Asian market is worth paying attention to, it currently yields no immediate dividends, imo.

Catcher50: Your'e too close to the fire to be objective - please step back.

Posted by: BinM | December 19, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

All right!! I'm one level away from the Show!

Let's remind ourselves that the "best" team in our division just signed, to a two year contract, a pitcher who can go directly from the majors to the Ponce 48+ league.

Posted by: Catcher50 | December 19, 2008 9:36 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | December 20, 2008 12:19 AM | Report abuse

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