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The Red Sox and Mark Teixeria

ProBaseball-fans.com Boston Red Sox Correspondent Elizabeth Dreeson brings us her latest update on Red Sox Nation.


The Mark Teixeria sweepstakes has been one of the biggest stories for the Red Sox this offseason, and the future is quite unclear. Originally, it seemed like the Red Sox were the front-runner for the superstar, power hitting, gold glover first baseman. It was reported earlier this week that the Sox had extended an eight year offer to Teixeria, although the amount of money was undisclosed. Various reports have surfaced saying that the amount was $184 million over eight years, and $160 million.

Boston Red Sox merchandise The Boston Herald believed it to be one of the “longest and richest in the seven-year history of the ownership group led by John W. Henry”. The two biggest contracts under the Henry ownership thus far include Daisuke Matsuzaka’s six year $103.1 million, and JD Drew’s five year $70 million contract. On Thursday, some Red Sox executives flew to Texas to try and negotiate a contract with the slugger, and his agent Scot Boras. After this meeting, the Red Sox apparently took themselves out of the Mark Teixeria sweepstakes. John Henry said, “…After hearing about his other offers, it is clear that we are not going to be a factor”. The only two teams now officially in contention for Teixeria are the Nationals and the Orioles (the Angels retracted their eight year $160 million offer earlier today). It was reported, but not confirmed by Tex, that he and his wife want to stay on the East Coast, and since he is a native of Maryland, playing for the Orioles or Nationals would be a homecoming for him. Knowing the crazy world of free agency, Teixeria still could end up virtually anywhere, even with the Yankees who are hovering above the sweepstakes and could enter any minute. We all know that in the world of free agency, “It ain’t over til it’s over” as Yogi Bera puts it.

It’s not like the Red Sox are in need of a first baseman. It wouldn’t make sense acquiring him and then trading Mike Lowell because after the 2007 season, the Sox re-signed Lowell to a three-year $37.5 million dollar contract. Plus, Mike Lowell was the 2007 World Series MVP, and he’s a gold glover. He batted .324 in 2007, and even though the average plummeted in 2008 to .274, it was all within reason. Lowell had a hip injury, but he’s had surgery, and he’s engaging in a reportedly successful rehabilitation process. His range of motion should be back in 2009 so he can make those incredible back handed catches when a sharp line drive is hit down the third base line, then turn and throw a beautiful one hopper to first baseman Kevin Youkilis.


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If the Red Sox acquired Teixeria, it would also mean that KevinYoukilis would probably move to third base. Youk has proved that he is a very versatile player; he can play first, third, and even in the outfield. However, it is clear that first base is where he really belongs. Earlier in the season he broke the record for most consecutive games played at first without an error. The Sox already have two amazing players at the corners of the infield; there is no need to tamper with that. The way I see it, if a team gets to Game 7 of the American League Championship Series, just runs away from a return to the Fall Classic, there’s not much to be improved upon; especially when that team was faced with multiple injuries throughout the entire season. What the Red Sox do need is a strong fourth slot pitcher in the rotation, and I think that person is Derek Lowe, who is now the most eligible pitcher on the free agent market. That would give the Red Sox a really starting rotation of Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Josh Beckett, Derek Lowe, and Tim Wakefield. It even gives them more flexibility in the bullpen because Justin Masterson can stay there, and Clay Buchholz can be put there as well. There has also been a lot of talk about the future star Michael Bowden, but I think that he’s going to follow in Justin Masterson’s footsteps. He may be brought up from the farm system every now and then early on in the season, but when September comes, he’ll officially be added on to the roster. The only other things the Red Sox need right now is to re-sign Jason Varitek, and find his backup catcher. It will most likely not be Kevin Cash because if he were to be brought back (after being non-tendered), it would probably be to a minor league contract. It is pretty improbable that it would be Jarrod Saltalamacchia because the Rangers are asking for Clay Buchholz in return, so the Red Sox could look into either their own farm system, or the relatively week catching market.
It is expected that Mark Teixeria will announce whom he is signing with this upcoming week. Happy Holidays!!!


By Elizabeth Dreeson
ProBaseball-fans.com Red Sox Correspondent

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