Is eight enough to win the Mark Teixeira derby?
We're in the endgame of the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes, with agent Scott Boras trying to extract additional dollars and years from the final bidders.
Whatever contract Teixeira signs will have at least eight years -- all guaranteed, no option years -- a source familiar with the negotations was told at the winter meetings. That makes a report in today's New York Post particularly interesting: The Post says the Nationals have offered seven years at $140 million.
The Nationals are widely reported to have offered eight years and $160 million. If the Post report is correct, Boras might not yet have an eight-year offer. The Orioles reportedly have offered seven years at $140 million to $150 million.
And, as The Times' Mike DiGiovanna first reported earlier this week, the Angels are believed to be at seven years for about $160 million. The details of the Red Sox bid have not been reported, but they negotiated extensively with Boras at the winter meetings this week and were regarded as the front-runners when they left town.
The sense in Las Vegas was that, because CC Sabathia had signed with the Yankees for seven years and $161 million, Boras would set the floor the final round of bidding for Teixeira at eight years and $162 million. Boras himself said the appropriate contractual comparison for Teixeira, as a position player, was not the Sabathia deal but the 10-year, $275-million contract that Alex Rodriguez signed last year.
A report also popped up that the Yankees also were pursuing Teixeira. A source involved in the negotiations wondered whether the Boras camp might have floated that one to try to elicit a higher bid from the Red Sox -- because the Yankees signed Sabathia, traded for Nick Swisher and are working on trading for Mike Cameron. The Yankees also have said that they're spending lots more money on starting pitching, with A.J. Burnett, Derek Lowe and Andy Pettitte in play.
The Nationals almost certainly would have to be the high bidders to land Teixeira, and probably by a lot. Even then, Teixeira would have to endure arrows about whether he really wanted to win by signing with a team that lost 102 games last season. But Boras would have that covered too, by asking the Nationals to include an opt-out clause similar to the one the Yankees gave Sabathia: If this isn't working out in three years, you can leave.
In fact, Boras got Rodriguez out of Texas by brokering a deal to get Rodriguez to the Yankees after the first three years of a 10-year, $252-million contract with the Rangers, who finished in last place in all three of those years. Then when the opt-out clause in that contract did kick in four years later, Rodriguez parlayed that into a new $275-million contract with the Yankees.
-- Bill Shaikin
Top photo: The Angels' Mark Teixeira slides past the tag of Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek during Game Two of the ALDS in October. Credit: Kirby Lee / Image of Sport-US Presswire
Lower photo: Scott Boras. Credit: Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times