Teixeira could have his pick of offers
As many as six teams reportedly in the hunt for slugging first baseman
All Mark Teixeira wants for Christmas is a new contract.
And who wouldn't, given that the final tally could be in the range of nine figures?
But where Tex is coming from has more to do with peace of mind than pieces of eight.
With as many as six teams reportedly in the hunt, the free-agent slugger should have his pick of offers in the next few weeks, and he would rather have sugar plums and not option years dancing in his head this holiday season.
"I don't want to put a timetable on it, but Christmas morning, I want to know where I'm going to be for the next couple of years, so hopefully, by Christmas it will be done," Teixeira told ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews during the Miami/Georgia Tech football game in Atlanta on Thursday.
Of course, that will also involve agent Scott Boras, who must be satisfied with his due diligence as to the depth of the market.
So far, the Angels have earmarked re-signing Teixeira as one of their priorities this winter, but they will also likely pursue another arm for their rotation, with CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett as possibilities.
Keeping Teixeira in Anaheim would make the Angels a favorite again to win the American League West. The switch-hitting first baseman came over in a deadline deal and helped solidify the middle of the batting order.
After hitting 20 homers in 103 games in Atlanta, Teixeira hit another 13 in 54 games with the Angels, then hit .467 with an RBI in a first-round playoff loss to the Red Sox.
Teixeira said that he and Boras are on recon at the moment but will hopefully have a decision to make in the next few weeks. The Nationals, Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox and Giants are projected to be suitors.
"I want to go where I can win and my family is happy," Teixeira said. "Whether it's the East Coast -- that's where I'm from -- but I loved playing in Anaheim, too, so we'll see what happens."
Thinking timetable as well are the Yankees, who apparently have let Sabathia know that his monumental contract offer is limited, and that he, too, should expect a happy holiday season.
Sabathia can remain in Milwaukee for the $100 million over five years that the Brewers have reportedly offered or become the richest pitcher in the history of the game by taking the deal the Yankees have put forth, believed to be for six years at $140 million.
In addition to the Angels, the usual suspects that have been linked to Sabathia are the Dodgers, Giants and Red Sox. The Yankees, though, may grow impatient.
"We've made him an offer. It's not going to be there forever," Hal Steinbrenner told the Associated Press on Thursday at the quarterly owners' meeting in New York.
Sabathia remains the Yankees' first choice, but they need more than one starting pitcher, and are also targeting Burnett and Derek Lowe.
The Dodgers made Rafael Furcal one of the major free-agent signings at the 2005 Winter Meetings in Dallas, and though he won't command the $39 million deal he got three years ago, he could come at a relatively bargain price. As an unranked free agent, he also would not cost the signing team Draft compensation.
The 31-year-old Furcal still has years left, and a .357 batting average with the Dodgers this past season indicates that he can jump-start an offense. The problem is a balky lower back that required surgery and stole four months of his season.
Before his injury, and before Manny Ramirez captured the spotlight in Los Angeles this past season, Furcal was the catalyst of the Dodgers' attack, and the club views him as a key piece to its infield for next year if it is able to re-sign him.
The A's are one of the interested parties, and after reviewing Furcal's medical records, the club appears assured that the shortstop is healthy. Agent Paul Kinzer confirmed Oakland's interest but said that they have not issued a formal offer, MLB.com learned on Thursday.
Kinzer also confirmed that the Braves, Giants, Orioles and Cubs are interested in Furcal, with an additional mystery team in the mix, according to a report on Yahoo Sports.
The hangup for Furcal is years: He's getting three, but he wants four.
The Orioles are in dire need of a shortstop, with no realistic option in the organization, and have an interest in Furcal, as they do Orlando Cabrera and Edgar Renteria. But they may need a more economical solution in Cesar Izturis with the additional pursuits of Teixeira and Burnett.
According to a report in the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles have contacted Izturis' representative, Chris Leible.
Among second basemen, Orlando Hudson is the top available free agent, and he is reportedly seeking $50 million over five years. The Indians, Mets and Yankees are reportedly interested, but add the Giants to the list.
In addition to Furcal, the Giants are serious contenders for Hudson, industry sources confirmed for MLB.com. Earlier in the week, the Giants showed that they will be an active player in the free-agent game by signing reliever Jeremy Affeldt.
As for the Reds, they lost Affeldt to the Giants but remain in the hunt for left-handed relief, Cincinnati general manager Walt Jocketty confirmed on Thursday.
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.