Teixeira to meet with top Red Sox brass

Boston Red Sox majority owner John W. Henry, CEO Larry Lucchino and general manager Theo Epstein flew to Texas on Thursday night to meet with free agent Mark Teixeira and his agent, Scott Boras, in an effort to convince the switch-hitting first baseman to sign with Boston.

The Red Sox have made an eight-year offer to Teixeira in excess of $160 million, but sources close to the negotiations say it is less than the $184 million reported by Boston WCVB sportscaster Mike Lynch, who first reported that the meeting would take place.

The meeting will not result in a “take it or leave it” scenario by the Red Sox, a source said. However, Henry said earlier this week that the Red Sox will not satisfy Boras’ request for a 10-year deal, and it appears highly unlikely that Boston will go beyond eight years.

The parties are meeting at an undisclosed location in Texas, the Red Sox having requested the face-to-face meeting with the player so he can hear directly from them why they believe he should spend the next eight years in Boston.

The Los Angeles Angels, Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals also have made offers to Teixeira, but to date none of those offers are believed to be for more than eight years. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman also met with Teixeira earlier this month, but that was before the Yankees committed more than $240 million to sign pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, so it appears unlikely they would make a grab for Teixeira as well.

Boras also represents free-agent catcher Jason Varitek, the Red Sox captain who declined an offer of salary arbitration from the team. Boston has not made another offer to Varitek since, though the sides continue to talk. A third Boras client, free-agent pitcher Derek Lowe, also is of interest to the Red Sox, but they have not made him an offer and are expected to do so only if he drops his price. Lowe is believed to be seeking a five-year deal in the $75 million range.

Teixeira, who turns 29 on April 11, has averaged more than 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in his six big-league seasons, while posting a .919 OPS and playing Gold Glove-caliber defense. The Red Sox envision him as a middle-of-the-lineup presence to offset last July’s departure of Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers. If Teixeira signs with the Red Sox, they would move All-Star Kevin Youkilis from first to third base while looking to trade third baseman Mike Lowell, the 2007 World Series MVP.

Gordon Edes is a national baseball writer for Yahoo! Sports. Send Gordon a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Thursday, Dec 18, 2008