Red Sox extend offer to Teixeira
Boston reportedly looks to ink free-agent slugger for eight years
BOSTON -- Though the Red Sox continue to operate in intriguing secrecy when it comes to their pursuit of free-agent slugger Mark Teixeira, it appears an offer has been transmitted from the offices of 4 Yawkey Way in Boston to the corporation of power agent Scott Boras in Southern California.
The Boston Herald reported in its Tuesday editions that the Red Sox have extended an offer for Teixeira, believed to be the longest and richest in the seven-year history of the ownership group led by John W. Henry.
Though the newspaper doesn't cite its source, it stated that the offer is "believed to be for at least eight years."
The Red Sox have a club policy of not commenting on their negotiating stance with any free agents.
Last week at the Winter Meetings, the Washington Nationals made Teixeira an eight-year, $160 million offer. Angels general manager Tony Reagins recently confirmed that his club had also made an eight-year offer. The Orioles, according to reports, have offered Teixeira a seven-year deal worth between $140 million and $150 million.
As for the Red Sox, GM Theo Epstein hasn't so much as uttered Teixeira's name in any interviews with media members this offseason.
That has always been the way Epstein conducts his business, and it's why you won't hear any public comments from the Red Sox regarding Teixeira until he either signs with Boston or goes somewhere else.
"We're being aggressive, really aggressive on players that we like," Epstein said last week.
The two biggest investments the Red Sox have made under current ownership? A $103.1 million sum -- including the $51.1 million posting fee -- to Daisuke Matsuzaka over six seasons and a five-year, $70 million contract for J.D. Drew.
Though breaking the bank in free agency isn't typically the way the Red Sox go about their Hot Stove business, they feel that Teixeira -- who will turn 29 in April -- could be the centerpiece of their lineup for the better part of a decade.
The switch-hitter does everything the Red Sox like, from getting on base to hitting for power to playing terrific defense at first base.
Epstein was asked at the Winter Meetings if the Red Sox could sign a marquee free agent this winter.
"I think there's a chance of it," he said. "There's definitely a chance that we don't. I can't tell you which [answer], eight, 10, 12 years from now would have been better for the organization. But players that we like and think can help us, we're going to try to sign to numbers that we think are reasonable and help us going forward and help us with our foundation. If we get them, great. If we don't, then we'll move on."
The Yankees, Boston's top rival, have already made a loud statement this winter, agreeing to terms with starters CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett.
Though Epstein never likes to act as if he is counteracting the Yankees, Teixeira would clearly give Boston's lineup a more dynamic look.
There have been conflicting reports as to whether the Yankees have interest in Teixeira.
When Boras spoke at the Winter Meetings, he didn't sound as if he was in any rush to close the Teixeira deal. Back in November, while attending a Georgia Tech football game, Teixeira told ESPN that he'd like to sign by Christmas.
If the Red Sox are successful in landing Teixeira, it will create a somewhat sticky situation. The Red Sox have Kevin Youkilis at first base and Mike Lowell at third. To open a spot for Teixeira, the Red Sox might have to trade Lowell and move Youkilis across the diamond.
However, Lowell, coming off right hip surgery, is likely to have to prove his health in Spring Training if he is to be dealt. Last winter the Red Sox re-signed Lowell, the Most Valuable Player of the 2007 World Series, to a three-year, $37.5 million contract.
The Red Sox control Youkilis contractually for the next two years, so it's highly doubtful he would be moved. Youkilis finished third in the American League Most Valuable Player voting in November. David Ortiz, Boston's star designated hitter, is a 10-5 man (10 years in the Majors, five with the same team), meaning he could veto any trade.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.