Yanks land Teixeira with eight-year deal
Contract worth $180 million comes with full no-trade clause
NEW YORK -- Already this offseason's biggest spenders, the Yankees continue to be the unquestioned leaders of the Hot Stove League, having swept in late to add sweet-swinging first baseman Mark Teixeira to their revamped roster.
The Yankees and Teixeira reached a preliminary agreement Tuesday on an eight-year, $180 million contract that will make the Bronx -- and not Boston -- the slick-fielding 28-year-old's next destination.
A baseball source, speaking on the condition of anonymity to MLB.com, confirmed Teixeira's decision to sign with the Yankees. A club spokesman said the Yankees did not expect to have any sort of official statement or announcement on Tuesday.
With agent Scott Boras leading the charge, Teixeira had aimed to finalize his situation by Christmas. The Red Sox had been rumored as front-runners earlier in the day -- pacing a group of suitors that also included the Nationals and Orioles -- but as with CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett this month, the Yankees stepped up as the highest bidder and brought home their man.
Teixeira's agreement includes a $5 million signing bonus and a full-no trade provision. The deal also gives the Yankees control of the four biggest contracts in the game, joining pacts signed by Alex Rodriguez (10 years, $275 million), Derek Jeter (10 years, $189 million) and Sabathia (seven years, $161 million).
When the Red Sox hesitated, the Yankees pounced, delivering a punishing blow to their American League East rivals and topping the next-closest offer by more than $10 million.
It is a move that the Red Sox cannot answer on the free-agent market -- the next-most-dangerous hitter available is Manny Ramirez, and his return to Fenway Park simply will not occur.
Orioles CEO Andy MacPhail confirmed on Tuesday that Baltimore would not be Teixeira's destination, saying, "I was told they were going in another direction. We would've liked to have the player. We sort of deviated from our plan a little bit to see if we could accommodate him, but at the end of the day, it was really just too much of our resources devoted to one player."
According to a Major League source, Boras told the Nationals that Teixeira wanted to win now and felt that Washington was not ready. Teixeira seemed destined for the Sox, at least until the Yankees accelerated the process.
"I figured he would land in our division someplace," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "The big names are going to normally land within the AL East."
New York's connection to Teixeira had been loose in the weeks that preceded Tuesday's developments. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman met with Teixeira in advance of the Winter Meetings at Boras' request, gathering in Teixeira's home state of Maryland, but as recently as Monday, the club did not have an offer on the table.
Speculation was that Teixeira preferred an East Coast club, which made several of his suitors interesting options. Teixeira indicated a month ago that he wanted his future settled by the holidays.
"I want to know where I'll be by Christmas," he told ESPN on Nov. 19, while patrolling the sidelines during a football game at Georgia Tech -- his alma mater.
And as it came down on Tuesday, Teixeira will be in Baltimore on Opening Day, but playing for the Yankees, offering some much-needed protection for Rodriguez as the Yankees wait to open their new $1.3 billion stadium.
A product of Severna Park, Md., who has also played with the Rangers, Braves and Angels, Teixeira grew up an Orioles fan but closely followed the career of Don Mattingly, calling the former Yankees captain one of his role models. During his time in Texas, Teixeira wore Mattingly's No. 23 -- which was retired by the Yankees.
Mattingly had a private lunch with Teixeira during his time with the Rangers and came away impressed with Teixeira and how he approached the game, on and off the field.
In the Yankees' stable, Teixeira represents a younger, more athletic upgrade over predecessor Jason Giambi at first base. Teixeira will earn an annual average of $22.5 million per year under the deal; Giambi earned $21 million in 2008.
The acquisition will displace November acquisition Nick Swisher to backup duty at first base or into the outfield. The Yankees could also now shop a crowded group that includes Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner.
The Yankees' initial goal of the offseason was to bolster their starting pitching, a task accomplished by securing Sabathia and Burnett earlier this month with $243.5 million in future salary commitments.
Tacking on Teixeira pushes the Yankees' investment past the $420 million mark, a move the organization felt possible considering its revenue streams involving the new ballpark and the YES Network, among others.
New York saw approximately $88.5 million come off the books after the season in commitments to players like Bobby Abreu, Giambi, Mike Mussina, Carl Pavano, Andy Pettitte and Ivan Rodriguez. That turned out to be fortunate timing, as many clubs have shied away from huge outlays due to the state of the economy.
As it played out, the Yankees' efforts in the Boras-driven negotiating process were similar to a tack taken in 2005. That winter, the Bombers maintained they had little to no interest in Damon, but then jumped in with a four-year offer after the outfielder's discussions with Boston hit a standstill.
Despite any fiscal concerns, the Yankees always had the ability to make an offer, and needed a bat -- by losing Giambi and Abreu, New York needed a way to replace 52 home runs and 196 RBIs just to match last year's total of 789 runs scored.
The Yankees knew they needed better run production, especially after scoring three runs or fewer in 70 games. Their only question -- as co-chairman Hal Steinbrenner said last week -- was deciding how much they would want to spend.
The answer, as it came in regard to Teixeira, was a lot.
Boras initially indicated that he was seeking a 10-year, $200 million contract for the slugger, who began his career with Texas and has 203 homers and 676 RBIs in six seasons with a .290 career average.
The No. 5 overall pick in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft out of Georgia Tech, Teixeira broke in with the Rangers in '03 as a teammate of A-Rod's. He spent 4 1/2 seasons with Texas before he was shipped to Atlanta in the middle of the '07 season, rejecting an eight-year, $140 million extension offer from the Rangers.
|1||A. Rodriguez||NYY||10 yrs ('08-17)||$275,000,000|
|2||A. Rodriguez||TEX||10 yrs ('01-10)||$252,000,000|
|3||Derek Jeter||NYY||10 years ('01-10)||$189,000,000|
|4||M. Teixeira||NYY||8 yrs ('09-16)||$180,000,000|
|5||CC Sabathia||NYY||7 yrs ('08-14)||$161,000,000|
|6||M. Ramírez||BOS||8 yrs ('01-08)||$160,000,000|
|7||M. Cabrera||DET||8 yrs ('08-15)||$152,300,000|
|8||Todd Helton||COL||11 yrs (2001-11)||$151,500,000|
|9||J. Santana||NYM||6 yrs ('08-13)||$137,500,000|
|10||A. Soriano||CHC||8 yrs ('07-14)||$136,000,000|
|11||Vernon Wells||TOR||7 yrs ('08-14)||$126,000,000|
|12||Barry Zito||SF||7 yrs ('07-13)||$126,000,000|
|13||Mike Hampton||COL||8 yrs ('01-08)||$121,000,000|
|14||Jason Giambi||NYY||7 yrs ('02-08)||$120,000,000|
|15||Carlos Beltrán||NYM||7 yrs ('05-11)||$119,000,000|
|16||K. Griffey Jr.||CIN||9 yrs ('00-08)||$116,500,000|
|17||Kevin Brown||LAD||7 yrs ('99-2005)||$105,000,000|
|18||Albert Pujols||STL||7 yrs ('04-10)||$100,000,000|
|18||Carlos Lee||HOU||6 yrs ('07-12)||$100,000,000|
The Braves resisted dealing Teixeira last offseason, hoping he'd find a permanent home in Atlanta, but when they saw that wasn't going to happen, they sent him to the Angels on July 29 in exchange for first baseman Casey Kotchman and Minor League pitcher Steve Marek.
Teixeira, who will turn 29 on April 11, flourished with the Angels down the stretch, offensively and defensively. Batting in front of Vladimir Guerrero, he hit .358 with a .449 on-base percentage and a .632 slugging percentage.
Teixeira delivered 13 homers and 43 RBIs in 54 games for the Angels, reaching 30-plus homers and 100-plus RBIs for the fifth consecutive season with a combined 33 homers and 121 RBIs, batting .308.
Teixeira continued to swing a hot bat in the AL Division Series, hitting .467 with seven hits and four walks, but the Angels fell to the Red Sox in four games.
It was Teixeira's first exposure to postseason play. As the Yankees gun for their elusive 27th World Series title, they are banking that it will not be his last.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Bill Ladson, Adam McCalvy and Lyle Spencer contributed. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.