12/11/08 5:40 PM EST
Teixeira's destination a mystery
Nats, Angels, Red Sox, Yankees, O's all seek slugger
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
The Angels, who sent first baseman Casey Kotchman and pitcher Steve Marek to the Braves last July for Teixeira, remained noncommittal in terms of how high they will go for the man who gave them a tremendous performance offensively and defensively in the second half.
The Red Sox and Orioles also are in aggressive pursuit of Teixeira, and there are indications the Yankees -- focused on landing more starting pitching on the heels of their CC Sabathia deal -- are considering jumping into the sweepstakes.
Like the Red Sox, who have Kevin Youkilis at first, the Yankees have no pressing need for Teixeira after acquiring Nick Swisher from the White Sox. But New York clearly does not want to see Teixeira in Boston.
Departing the Meetings, Angels general manager Tony Reagins repeated what he has been saying since Teixeira filed for free agency.
"Mark is our No. 1 priority," Reagins said. "We are keeping the lines of communication open [with agent Scott Boras] and hope to get it done.
"The process is going as we expected. We knew it wasn't going to be quick. We knew Scott was going to be thorough.
"They have a real good idea what our organization is all about."
The Angels have set internal limits on how high they'll go with Teixeira, believed to be seven years and about $160 million. Reagins would not divulge what those terms might be.
Teixeira, who turns 29 on April 11, expressed nothing but good feelings about his time with the Angels. Batting third, in front of Vladimir Guerrero, he elevated the entire offense, hitting .358 with a .449 on-base percentage and .632 slugging percentage.
The Angels are not convinced Teixeira, a Maryland native who attended Georgia Tech, is motivated by a desire to return to the East Coast, as widely reported.
"Mark gave every impression that he really enjoyed playing with us," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's a great player, one we obviously want back."
Teixeira hit a combined .321 with 33 home runs and 121 RBIs for the Braves and Angels.
At Mt. St. Joseph's High School in Baltimore, Teixeira played baseball, basketball and soccer, setting state records for career homers, RBIs and runs scored.
The Orioles are hoping he has a desire to return home and revitalize a club that hasn't had a winning record since 1997.
The Nationals, also close to home, would present a similar challenge if Teixeira is motivated to lift a club that has been struggling.
"We made a very concrete offer and Teixeira is our No. 1 priority," Nationals general manager Jim Bowden said. "I tried to be up front and honest. We are trying to build this club through development and scouting, through young players, through trades for young players. We also said if it was a free agent who was young and in his 20s, [we would want him] to be part of the long-term solution."
Boras acknowledged Teixeira's "regional ties. Certainly, family things [are] part of his consideration."
The agent also mentioned that Teixeira wants to play for a contender, believed to be a factor in his decision not to remain in Texas after spending his first 4½ seasons with the Rangers. They sent him to Atlanta for a collection of prospects at the 2007 Trade Deadline.
Teixeira, in an ESPN sideline interview at a Georgia Tech football game last month, said he hoped to know where he'd be playing by Christmas. But Boras, known for his methodical ways, appears in no rush as he communicates daily with Teixeira on the phone.
"We have been going through a number of things," Boras said. "Again, I can't say something is imminent. You try to get the deal done as quickly as you can. A lot of these things are about economical and contractual elements and stipulations.
"Mark certainly understands the complexity of the situation, because he is dealing with a variety of clubs to evaluate. We'll see."
Boras has put Teixeira in the class of Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds as a "player who pays for himself" in terms of gate increases and other club revenues.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.