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The Odds Tilt Again

The longer the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes go on, the better the Washington Nationals chances are becoming. More than a week since making their bold contract proposal to Teixeira, baseball's top offensive free agent, the Nationals have moved from a presumed long-shot to perhaps one of the most likely contenders -- particularly given the backdrop of frantic developments tonight.

All along, the Boston Red Sox were considered the biggest players for the first baseman's services. But that notion, widely presumed throughout the industry, became cloudy tonight after the Boston's top management traveled to Texas to meet with Teixeira's agent. This attempt to finalize a deal, though, ended with Boston owner John Henry suggesting that his team could no longer compete in the bidding war.

"We met with Mr. Teixeira and were very much impressed with him," Henry said in an e-mail. "After hearing about his other offers, however, it seems clear that we are not going to be a factor."

Several media outlets put Boston's offer at eight years and $184 million. Henry's e-mail lends some credence to the idea that the Nationals have moved forward from their initial offer, though no dollar figure has been made public. Boras, however, also has a history of constructing whatever story helps his client -- even if it means inflating contract terms of competing teams. Washington General Manager Jim Bowden could not be reached late tonight for comment.

More than a week ago, the Washington Nationals offered Teixeira an eight-year, $160 million contract. The Angels are on record offering comparable terms.

By Chico Harlan  |  December 19, 2008; 12:21 AM ET
 
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Comments

this is great news, if the sox are actually out of the bidding and the nats are still in, I think washington becomes the favorite

Posted by: weckstein | December 19, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse

new posted!!

i've said for the last few weeks, the longer it goes, the better the nats odds become. the angels management is not one to dwell on deals and players, they make their offer and move on. the sox have a great team and do not neeeeeeed this. the orioles cannot be the high bidder or the yankees would be bidding because they play 18 times a year and need 14 wins to pass boston and tampa. that leads me to the conclusion that its mystery team, or the nats

Posted by: formerlylove | December 19, 2008 12:18 AM

Posted by: formerlylove | December 19, 2008 12:28 AM | Report abuse

They are just toying with your emotions boys. I still don't believe it. He'll be a Yankee Sock of Anaheim. And we shall sign someone not quite as good.

Go Bill Rhinehart!

Posted by: soundbloke | December 19, 2008 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Just got home from the new Union Jack Pub (the unionjackpub.com)in old town Winchester,VA to see if there was any new Tex news. As soon as I turned on ESPNEWS there was the report right in front of me about the Sox apparentely being out of the Tex sweepstakes! At face value, I would take it as the Nationals moving into the #1 spot to land Tex, but of course the national media spin puts the Angels as favorites. We shall see....!!!!!

Posted by: Keenan1 | December 19, 2008 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Deep breaths, people, DEEEEEEEEP breaths.

At least that's what I'm doing... :-P

Posted by: Juan-John | December 19, 2008 1:47 AM | Report abuse

I was listening to a Brian Cashman interview on WFAN in New York today. While he did not come out and say he was looking at Tex, he did say that he felt he needed some left handed help. He also said that he was not interested in Manny. I am thinking the Yankees are going after Tex. Hope I am wrong but......

Posted by: mjames0 | December 19, 2008 1:48 AM | Report abuse

First, thank you Chico for this late post based on late-breaking news. Impressive and appreciated.
Second, I've said it before: We're not one player (even a key cog like Tex) away. I am most grateful that the Lerners, in these tough economic times, are willing to open their wallets, but will this keep them from doing the same when we get closer to REALLY competing? One thing is for sure: It will be an unpleasant spring, if Nick Johnson is ready to play and Tex has the job.

Posted by: nats24 | December 19, 2008 2:01 AM | Report abuse

Oh boy. Trying not to believe... :)

Posted by: AlexL925 | December 19, 2008 2:10 AM | Report abuse

A Festivus miracle!

After a day of the airing of grievances, we may get to see Tex's feats of strength on So. Capitol. Now where can I find an aluminum pole?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | December 19, 2008 3:58 AM | Report abuse

Just a guess - if there is anything to that 8 yr / $184m ($23m AAV) offer, then there is an offer out there for 9 or more years and probably for $200m.

Just playing with the numbers, probably something like the first 4 years $22.5m average (say 21/22/23/24), and then $24m per year for 5 more years. Throw in an opt-out after 4 years, and maybe another after 6. That'd be $210m, guaranteed.

Where would that put the Nats? If you think long term this is a market capable of supporting a $100m payroll, it leaves them perilously close to too concentrated a payroll, unless we develop an ace internally (Strasburg?), sign the first FotF to a Cano type deal, and lock up Flores, pitchers #2 & #3 for reasonable money. Middle infielders can be a rotation of guys we bring in and let go when they become too expensive, and the Dukeses and Milledges can be treaed as fungible.

I'm putting the cart way the heck ahead of the horse, but I wanted to toss a straw man out there to show that Tex could fit within the budget if we develop most of the pitching staff internally and sign Flores and original FotF early.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | December 19, 2008 4:30 AM | Report abuse

Nats24 - Nick can be dealt if healthy for more than 20 minutes. I think the As are a likely target. Santiago Casilla (an MR who throws wicked hahd and could close) is might be a good option. Not the best pitcher in their system, but very useful.

mjames - For Cashman, perhaps the Dragnet theme? (Dunn, de-Dunn-Dunn)

Angels need him more than the NYY. I don't think they'll go into next year with Kendry Morales at 1st, and they may want to leave DH as a rotational slot given the health of Vladi. They might need 2 signings - an OF for when Vladi is hurt and a 1st baseman. Would you take the rest of Gary Matthews contract off their hands for AK and Nick?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | December 19, 2008 4:45 AM | Report abuse

While you were sleeping:

I wish I had 200 million dollars. Hot dog!

This is a very interesting situation.

Hmmm...A man doesn't get in a situation like this every day.

Not in Nats Park, anyway.

Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings a player gets his contract.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 19, 2008 6:44 AM | Report abuse

>A Festivus miracle!

No complaints here baybee!!

Ol Ballgame is getting out the heavy artillery. You don't get rich by being a bad negotiator.

Posted by: Brue | December 19, 2008 7:14 AM | Report abuse

It really would be a wonderful life, 1a.

Can Cashman be old man Potter?

As for these Yankees rumors, could the Sox really bear to sit it out while the Yankees took Teixeira? Could the Yankees really afford Tex and Sabathia and still field a decent team? I just don't see how the Sox are out and the Yanks are in.

More likely, Sox are playing at brinksmanship and, if their out, it's Angels or Nats, with Nats leading. Though never underestimate Angelos' willingness to spend a lot of money for someone who isn't necessarily what his team needs.

Posted by: Section506 | December 19, 2008 7:35 AM | Report abuse

I was thinking Steinbrenner, 506, but Cashman would work, too.

This is wacky! I went to bed thinking that it was a done deal for the Sox. Come on and prove the pundits (whatever) wrong, Teix.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 19, 2008 7:51 AM | Report abuse

> was listening to a Brian Cashman interview on WFAN in New York today. While he did not come out and say he was looking at Tex, he did say that he felt he needed some left handed help. He also said that he was not interested in Manny. I am thinking the Yankees are going after Tex. Hope I am wrong but......

Piss on em. They can re-sign Giambi for cheap since they're in the process of buying a whole new rotation.

Posted by: Brue | December 19, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

>As for these Yankees rumors, could the Sox really bear to sit it out while the Yankees took Teixeira? Could the Yankees really afford Tex and Sabathia and still field a decent team?

They still have to sign Derek Lowe too. And the only thing low about him is his name.

Posted by: Brue | December 19, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Aw, that's a great post, 1a.

I love It's a Wonderful Life. I actually once met the actress who played Zuzu - Karolyn Grimes - at the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, PA. Very cool.

In other news, I'm kind of freaking out right now, guys.

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 19, 2008 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Settle boys.

Even with the Sox out we are far from favourites. Also what are the odds on a "Sox Dramatically Re-Enter Race for Teixeria" headline early next week.

Posted by: soundbloke | December 19, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Brue
Cashman said that if he signed Petite he was done with the rotation, meaning Lowe is not part of his plans. His plan is to offer Petite a one year deal as he wants to keep the next pitcher signing short term so he can develop his younger pitchers. He does not want to block his younger pitchers with a long term signing. That means Lowe is out. He still has a ton of money which came off the books. If he wanted to blow everyone away with an offer for Tex he could.

Posted by: mjames0 | December 19, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Listened to WFAN overnight and word on the street is the Tex offer is now approaching the 200M mark. Either it is a Bore-Ass ploy or the Nats have tended an "offer sheet" to Boras with a 10 year/200M take it or leave it proposal. Be advised that didn't work for the Braves with Furcal but maybe this one will turn out differently.

You would have to think that the Lerner-Stans are ready to roll out the red-carpet for this guy and if this goes down today or Monday he instantly becomes "the face of the franchise", oh baby I just wet my pants thinking about that!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | December 19, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Who knows at this point but this was in the comments section of MLBTradeRumors.

"Hunter’s mood brightened considerably when told of Henry’s e-mail. Earlier Thursday, when told Red Sox officials were meeting Teixeira at his home, Hunter said, “That [stinks]. I definitely want him to come back. He made us complete. I know we were up by 11 games when we got him, but he made us that much better.”

Later in the evening, Hunter, who tried to call Teixeira this week and sent him a text-message Thursday night, felt a lot more confident about the Angels’ chances of retaining Teixeira.

“What the Angels did was spectacular, they gave him an offer that blew everyone away, and it shows how badly they want this guy,” Hunter said. “I’m so happy they did that. I can sleep better at night. We can’t let Tex go. He’s very special on this team."

http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-teixeira19-2008dec19,0,6519013.story

It sure sounds like the Angels are the ones going after him hard, not the Nats. An East Coast discount is the only hope I think, but as someone pointed out yesterday, Boras' clients tend to go for the dough.

#4

Posted by: db423 | December 19, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

>He still has a ton of money which came off the books. If he wanted to blow everyone away with an offer for Tex he could.

Well, Ted's got 3.5 billion, people keep forgetting this. The Yankees haven't made any offers yet, otherwise the press would probably have heard about it by now. Maybe they're looking for a short-term slugger (Man-ny) too. Just because it may make sense for them to buy Tex doesn't mean they're inclined to tie up a roster spot for 10 years. They haven't even made an offer, I mean, how much longer can they wait? Tex wants a bow on this thing for Christmas.

Posted by: Brue | December 19, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

The Tori Hunter comments, if true, are interesting and discouraging. But I heard the Angels beat writer for the LA Times say on ESPN this morning that he has heard nothing about the Angels upping their offer, and that the Nationals were the team in hot pursuit looking to make a splash. How could a poster in the comments section of a blog know more than the Angels beat writer of the major LA newspaper?

Posted by: raymitten | December 19, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

"How could a poster in the comments section of a blog know more than the Angels beat writer of the major LA newspaper?"

Maybe the Angels beat writer of the major LA newspaper takes more vacation than Chico Harlan.

Posted by: raykingsgutfeeling2 | December 19, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

That okay, I'm kinda freaking out, too, JiM.

That's cool about Zuzu - the Post had an interesting profile on her a few years ago:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/23/AR2006122300729_pf.html

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 19, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

The poster was quoting an LA Times article written by Mike DiGiovanna, not his own personal knowledge.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
How could a poster in the comments section of a blog know more than the Angels beat writer of the major LA newspaper?

Posted by: raymitten | December 19, 2008 8:51 AM

Posted by: Section138 | December 19, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

The Sawx are not out of this yet. Henry went down to seal the deal. Boras claimed he had better offers, whether in terms of money or years, than Henry was willing to commit to. Who knows whether he does or not. But in poker terms, Henry just said "check" not "fold." Let's see whether anyone ups the ante.

Posted by: BobLHead | December 19, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

If any Red Sox fans want to know why their team is hated just as much - if not more - than the Yankees these days, please check the morning round up of responses to the latest Teixeira news.

Posted by: Section506 | December 19, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Opening Day lineup

GuzmanSS
MilledgeCF
Zimmerman3B
Teixiera1B
DukesRF
WillinghamLF
FloresCA
Hernandez2B
OlsenSP


i'm starting to see hints of power and speed in this lineup. infield defense is exceptional. outfield defense is average at best but dukes is above average.

still we must take advantage and sign a Type A free agent and sign both top 10 picks next year. detwiler and ballester and lannan could really make next years offseason easy...

Posted by: longterm | December 19, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

to me dukes is not a trade chip. he is make or break with us. if he is healthy and settles in we are golden.

Posted by: longterm | December 19, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, 1a! I didn't realize she had fallen on hard times. When I saw her, it was a free appearance for members at the JSM. It was a great event - she really does give you some neat trivia.

I know more about that movie than any self-respecting 30 year-old should. I'll just leave it at that.

Thanks for the distraction. The bus ride to work was fraught with lineups featuring Teixeira...

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 19, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

i think to take advantage of dukes speed we'd have to hit him after tex. probably best protection we can offer tex also.

but dukes can take a walk and wouldn't chase in front of tex. he could hit for a ton of power. i usually think best hitter should hit 3rd. does dukes hitting 4th get him more speed or should he just layoff the stolen bases and concentrate on playing every day with power.

does zimmerman learn to layoff down and away with tex behind him? how do we match up guzman and texiera switch hitting in opposite spots? can milledge leadoff with guz 2 and tex 4?

this is all so much more fun to think about as opposed to dmitri drinking or nick johnson smoking...

Posted by: longterm | December 19, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

i'm thinking marquis grissom is gonna turn milledge into a bonafide leadoff hitter stolen base threat with power...he's fine in centerfield for me...

Posted by: longterm | December 19, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Were it any other agent, and any other team, I'd believe what I'm hearing right now.

But it's Scott Boras, who will say and do anything to get more money for his client, and the Red Sox, who have enough money to do what they want to do.

Both sides are posturing like a young lady and Mrs. MacAfee's Charm School.

Posted by: rushfari | December 19, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Reading the coverage on ESPN.com, I was at first shocked and disgusted at how little attention was paid to the Nats. But after reading their Hot Stove article on the club, it's clear that the folks at ESPN have paid so little attention to the Nats that they really have no clue what's going on in DC. Trade Zimmerman? Fire Acta? That may sound rational looking at the numbers in Bristol, but it would be sheer lunacy for a rebuilding team to axe the only pillars of stability they have.

I'm hoping against hope that the Nats actually are the frontrunners and that the team outbidding the Sox isn't some dark horse out of nowhere. And I'm looking forward to wiping that smug know-it-all grin off Peter Gammons' face.

Posted by: Aterio | December 19, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

You don't suddenly develop plate discipline. There are very few cases of guys - at any age - markedly improving their walk totals. Milledge is not a lead off hitter. I like him at #2 with a burner in front of him. He's more likely to see fastballs that way. Otherwise I'd bat him #5 or #6. I actually kind of like Zim in the #2 slot if we sign Tex.

#4

Posted by: db423 | December 19, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Once again, BobL is dead-center on this one. The Sox quote amounts to a "check," not a "fold."

From what I have heard, Boras' reputation for misinformation is well-earned. The fact that the Sox have blinked means to me that the moment for signing is nearing.

Either way, I love the fact that we are in the bidding this late and considered a strong candidate to land a top-flight free agent. Maybe it's the right move, and maybe it's not, but you have to love the risk-taking.

Posted by: Good2bOK | December 19, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

i think plate discipline and maturity can be contagious. these guys have all been together one year. add a stud and i bet they play much better. add a second stud and soon they are all playing where they are supposed to...

Posted by: longterm | December 19, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

new post!

Posted by: MrMadison | December 19, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

This news suggests that some team has blown the Sox out the water with their offer. Gotta be bigger than 8/160 million.

My guess is it is the Nats.

Which brings us to the Nick Johnson situation. Dude is a player. He has value. I don't know who the Angels would be prepared to lose in trade, but they're going to need a first baseman, if the Nats can sign Tex. With the A's in the mix, the Nats can demand a fair trade.

Posted by: fischy | December 19, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

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