Competing baseball executives are becoming convinced that the Angels mean business when it comes to star free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira, and not just because Angels owner Arte Moreno told SI.com at the Winter Meetings, "Teixeira's my guy.'' (Though, clearly, that doesn't hurt.)
While some Angels people seemed somewhat pessimistic about their chances in Las Vegas, here are four more reasons the Angels are still seen as huge players here:
1. The Angels recently announced that they'd made an eight-year offer to Teixeira. While the number of years isn't significant -- multiple teams are believed to be offering at least eight years at this point -- high-level baseball executives believe Moreno wouldn't authorize such an announcement if he wasn't intending to win the bidding.
2. The Angels appear to have abandoned their usual quick-deadline strategy. While saying they won't wait forever, they are not setting a near-term deadline that could limit their chances to get him.
3. Except for Manny Ramirez, the Angels' reported backup plans pale in comparison. The Los Angeles Times and other news outlets have listed several possible targets should Teixeira go elsewhere, and they include outfielders Adam Dunn, Pat Burrell and Bobby Abreu (the best of that group), third baseman Adrian Beltre, Mike Lowell and Garrett Atkins (a three-way tossup, with Lowell still having to prove he's healthy) and pitcher Jake Peavy (Peavy hasn't given the go-ahead to be traded to the Angels, or for that matter, any team in the American League; besides, Moreno said he's happy with their starting pitching).
4. While there are at least five teams in the bidding, and like the Angels the other four are all believed to go to $160 million or more, two of those teams are the Nationals and Orioles, who aren't exactly on the verge of changing their recent history of not contending. The Yankees are the third team, and with them having spent $243.5 million already on CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, they might not be anxious for an all-out bidding war. They'd surely take Teixeira if he's insistent on going there and they could keep the price to $160-to-180 million, but it's unclear now whether they're willing to hit the $200-million mark, and at this point, that's probably what it's going take. Manny Ramirez might be a slightly more likely option for the Yankees since they might be able to get him on a three- or four-year deal.