Mark Teixeira, It Would Be Wise To Weigh Your Options
The latest buzz surrounding the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes tells us that the 28-year-old first baseman will soon pick his new home, with a hefty paycheck to go with it.
The Angels, Red Sox, Yankees, Orioles and Nationals are all apparently in the running.
ESPN's Karl Ravich reported today that while the slugging switch hitter is nearing a decision, he has "an enormous attraction to the Orioles," the team the Annapolis, MD product grew up watching.
But Mark Teixeira should heed this warning. Be careful what you wish for.
Teixeria strikes me as a player that while he is going to get somewhere near $20 million a year, he isn't all about the money. He strikes me as someone who wants to have a chance to contend year in and year out while firmly staying put in one location.
I mean, who wouldn't want that.
But with that being said, let's take a look at his potential suitors and what those franchise could offer a player of Teixeira's caliber.
Every kid grows up wanting to star on his favorite team. And Teixeira is a Maryland native who grew up watching the O's. Seems like a match made in heaven, right?
While Baltimore can support the kind of contract Teixeira will demand, which very few cellar-dwellers can do, 18-20 million over seven years will be a major burden on their payroll.
The O's do need a big bat and a young, signature player but Baltimore is much farther away from playoff contention than just Mark Teixeira.
They play in the toughest division in baseball. The Sox and Yankees will be perennially good, the Rays made it to the big dance this season with young talent and Toronto always seems to put together a respectable .500 or better team.
Signing Teixeira will restrict what kind of role talent Baltimore can surround the first baseman with. They have a great young stud in Nick Markakis, but even when you look at their farm system, the O's have no great starting pitchers.
Teixeira's $18-20 million won't allow the Orioles to get a top-flight free agent pitcher or another big bat in the future. To compete in the AL East, you need a few great starters and a solid line-up one through nine.
If Mark decides to go to Baltimore, the prospects for success seem rather grim.
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels don't want to lose Teixeira. They really can't afford to lose his big bat in the middle of their order. Also, he seemed to enjoy his time in Anaheim.
L.A. can pay Teixeira his $18-20 million and might have a little more financial flexibility than Baltimore would.
The Angels have had a lot of recent success and they play in one of baseballs weaker-divisions. Like the Red Sox and Yankees, it seems unlikely that Los Angeles will allow themselves to be bad team for a very long time.
It seems like Anaheim makes a good fit, but with four other options all relatively close to his home town of Annapolis he might choose being near home over the biggest offer.
Make no mistake though, Los Angeles is right in the thick of all this and Teixeira could well decide to go back.
Boston Red Sox
Theo Epstein wants Mark Teixeira. He epitomizes everything the organization looks for in a player. He's young, has a great glove, big bat, he drives in runs and he gets on base.
We know that with the Red Sox, money is no obstacle. They can take on his big contract with a loaded farm system, a team that is already stocked with young talent and the flexibility to make another big signing when needed.
It seems like a great fit. He would be thrown into an already strong line-up on a team that will contend every single season.
But Teixeira might just simply not want to play in Boston. The fans are rabid and he would be under the microscope for everything that he does. A lot of pressure comes with playing in Beantown and he might want to avoid that.
Epstein will step and fetch for Teixeira and will have no problem matching the biggest offer on the table. However, Teixeira could well turn Boston down.
New York Yankees
Can the Yankees actually afford another $175 million contract? Well actually, yes they can.
While they can afford it and they are an organization that will do everything to compete year in and year out, New York holds the same baggage Boston does. A quiet guy like Teixeira might not want to live in the New York lime-light.
Yankee GM Brian Cashman doesn't seem to be pursuing Teixeira the way he did CC Sabathia or A.J. Burnett. So, the likely-hood that he will land in New York is dwindling by the day.
However, the stature of the Yankees will keep them in the discussion until the end.
The surprise team on this list, the Nationals are looking for a marquee player. The only semi-recognizable name on their roster is Ryan Zimmerman, a solid young third-baseman.
The Nationals have that close-to-home appeal that Baltimore has and Teixeira to be a part of re-building Washington D.C. baseball.
What should concern Teixeira is if Washington can actually afford his $18-20 million a year. They draw small crowds even with a new stadium. They compete for airtime and ratings with near-by Baltimore, a more established franchise.
Even if they could afford him, they would be even more limited than Baltimore with their remaining payroll.
Going to D.C. is a nice dream for National fans and the organization has been making a push but even if it did happen, which is unlikely, the Nationals would be selling their soul to the devil.
The point I'm trying to make is that Teixeira needs to fully weigh his options and the potential for success that comes with each of them.
And like I say, be careful what you wish for.
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