2009 Offseason: Teixeira mess or just business?
December 22, 2008 2 Comments
Free agent prize Mark Teixeira wanted to have a deal done by Christmas, and it’s almost time. I’ve said all along that the Red Sox would sign Teixeira only if the price was right. The free agent market has been surprisingly deflated due to the unstable economy, and players are not signing for the premium numbers they once did (apart from some notable exceptions, like CC Sabathia). Now with the Angels bowing out of the chase for Teixeira and the Yankees showing lukewarm interest, this deal may actually be happening. Let’s take a look at the current situation and the potential impact on the team.
The Boras Game
Scott Boras will say whatever and hold out as long as he can in order to squeeze every last dollar out of a team, but the economic climate is limiting teams from offering crazy money. Despite John Henry’s statement last week, the Sox have shown great interest in this guy, and still have a chance to land the slugger if that $200M offer is indeed false. They have dealt with Boras enough to know that silence is the best policy until it’s time to actually hammer out the deal.
Peter Gammons says that the Red Sox have been waiting for two years to pounce on Teixeira, so I think that means they get him, unless the Yankees come in last minute with crazy years or money.
Teixeira’s impact on the Sox
Signing Big Tex will not only give the Sox an impact bat to balance out the potential decline of David Ortiz and Mike Lowell (and the likely regression of Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia), but also add the right-handed cleanup hitter we need.
Darren at BBTF has done a projection of the improvement the Sox might see with Teixeira instead of Lowell. He thinks Youk is actually better defensively at third than at first. Teixeira will be much more worth the money compared to many other free agents out there; R.J. Anderson puts him at somwhere between $175-197M over the next eight seasons.
The Sox have recently looked into extending Youkilis, and he has already said that he would be willing to shift to third base in order to accomodate Teixeira. But where does that leave Lowell? The 35-year old third baseman will be traded, but not for some time. It may be possible to trade him in the spring to a team if their third baseman is injured, or the Sox may have to begin the season with about $45M worth of first and third basemen on the 25-man roster (whew!).
Tex will be signed for the next 8 years as a cornerstone player at first base. If/when his defense declines in his mid-30s, we could see him make the shift over to DH. Lars Anderson instantly becomes Papi’s replacement at DH, or he could be dealt for something else we really need.