LAS VEGAS – Scott Boras stood late Wednesday evening crushed against a store window, its display seasonally festive.
CC Sabathia had come off the board earlier in the day and now it was Boras' turn on the rooftop, ho-ho-hogging the final hours of these winter meetings, a swarm of reporters hanging on every word.
As various general managers and baseball folks observed that, yes, the Sabathia signing did seem to loosen the moods and the wallets here, Boras provided no real news, but served as a three-dimensional reminder that the next impact signings – Mark Teixeira, Derek Lowe – could be his.
Teixeira is reasonably close to choosing between the (nearly) hometown Orioles and Nationals, the (few-month) incumbent Angels and the Red Sox. Those close to Teixeira were not yet dismissing the Yankees, who've been players all along, but Yankees officials indicated they would continue to rebuild the pitching staff (Lowe or A.J. Burnett could join Sabathia any minute, Ben Sheets is another strong possibility, and they'd love to have Andy Pettitte back) rather than go big on Teixeira.
Lowe appears to have narrowed his options to the Yankees, Mets, Phillies and Red Sox, sources said, a pattern fairly similar to Burnett's, save for the Braves, who seem to have their hearts set on Burnett. In the Bellagio lobby, the over-under on the starts the brittle Burnett would make over the life of a five-year contract (the Yankees and Braves apparently are there) has been set around 100.
"We've been working pretty well around the clock here for a couple of days," Boras said. "We've had an opportunity to meet multiple times with multiple teams. I've been through these things before, and they can get done in a short period of time, or certainly could go well beyond the time frame of these meetings."
Teixeira will be the next massive deal, higher than Sabathia's $161 million unless he settles for less to play near his Maryland roots. That wouldn't be Boras' style, however. We'll see if it is Teixeira's. Bidding appears to have reached eight years on the slugging switch-hitter and adept first baseman, and there were indications he could choose his new ballclub, possibly his fourth in less than two seasons.
"Mark has met with all the teams that are involved, with ownership," Boras said.
The Angels would not confirm an official offer Wednesday night, although Boras and Teixeira have met with owner Arte Moreno. The Red Sox declined to comment on whether they had increased their offer to eight years. However, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said later in the evening that he had his most active day of the meetings and was "very aggressive" pursuing the players he liked – meaning Teixeira, first and foremost, although Boras said Boston also had made an offer to catcher Jason Varitek.
It seems clear that Boras has an idea of who's in and who's out, and whether the eighth (do we hear a ninth?) year is critical to Teixeira.
While the Washington and Baltimore situations would not appear to provide immediately competitive environments for Teixeira, who just took the first postseason at-bats of his career, Boras recalled delivering Magglio Ordonez, Ivan Rodriguez and Kenny Rogers to the Tigers not too long ago, helping them to the 2006 World Series.
Boras said he is in the process of laying the bids before Teixeira. Further negotiation is expected, of course. But, those close to the process said Teixeira could make his determination as soon as Wednesday night, or it could run another week or so.
“I can't tell you a time frame,” Boras said.