A day after Red Sox owner John Henry strongly suggested that he’d hit his limit with his latest bid for free-agent star first baseman Mark Teixeira, Teixiera’s agent Scott Boras was back in dialogue with the Yankees and Angels, people familiar with the talks told SI.com.
Boras was believed to be looking for offers of at least $180-million, or perhaps more, from at least a couple of the other interested teams after talks with Boston stalled. It’s believed the Red Sox were bidding close to $180 million before Henry publicly suggested that he was done bidding. While Henry and the Red Sox have not pulled their offer and are said by those in the know to remain in contention, the other contenders are getting another chance now to move to the top of the pack.
Yankees people were thought on Friday to be debating the merits of Teixeira vs. Manny Ramirez, Boras’ other available slugging superstar, and there may be a split vote in the pinstripe hierarchy. While they all love Teixiera’s all-around play and character, Ramirez may be favored by some for his unmatched clutch hitting prowess, unique ability to tweak the rival Red Sox and to draw attention and dollars, but especially because he’d require a shorter term (perhaps three or four years as opposed to at least eight for Teixeira).
Some have suggested the Yankees are merely monitoring the Teixeira situation since he’s Boston’s top priority, and there’s no concrete evidence they’ve outbid the Red Sox yet. Although, the sides were believed to be discussing parameters on Friday, and the Yankees also know that if they steal Teixeira from Boston they’ve clinched the winter in a landslide.
Meanwhile, there are signs that the Angels, who were thought to be trailing Boston a few days ago with a bid in the area of $165 million, might be readying for a move now. Some Angels baseball people figured that $160-to-170 million might be owner Arte Moreno’s limit, but that doesn’t look at all clear now.
Angels star outfielder Torii Hunter, in fact, seemed to suggest the opposite in a late Thursday email to the Los Angeles Times, writing, "What the Angels did was spectacular. They gave him an offer that blew everyone away, and it shows how badly they want this guy. 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."
The Angels also made a cost-effective move by signing Juan Rivera to the outfield for $12.75 million, leaving a lot of dollars available. Rivera gives them another corner outfielder and may limit their likelihood to bid on Ramirez. But it does nothing to hinder their goal of retaining Teixeira, who hit .358 for them with a .449 on-base percentage after coming over in trade from Atlanta.
A frustrated Henry suggested Boras implied to him that there were other offers above theirs, and while the teams’ bids remain secret, it is clear that Boras and Teixeira were comfortable enough to let Henry go back alone to Boston after their high-powered meeting at Teixeira’s Dallas-area home.
With up to five teams still seemingly in the running – including also Teixeira’s twin hometown teams, the Nationals and Orioles – it’s no certainty now that Teixeira will sign a deal before Christmas, as he had hoped.