Teixeira negotiations continue to escalate
LAS VEGAS – The Mark Teixeira negotiations have put agent Scott Boras in a position he loves. Information about the amount of money and length of a deal offered to his client continually leaks out and the price only increases.
Los Angeles Angels general manager Tony Reagins made public his team's eight-year offer, and though he didn't disclose the money involved, it is assumed to be at least $20 million a year.
It is unclear whether every team interested in Teixeira has made its highest bid. Perhaps Boras and Teixeira are biding time, waiting for the Boston Red Sox to break from the pack and offer a ninth year or a higher annual value over eight years than the other teams, which include the Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles and perhaps the New York Yankees.
Meanwhile, the Angels plan to explore the trade potential for two White Sox players who already have been dangled by general manager Kenny Williams – outfielder Jermaine Dye and first baseman Paul Konerko. Seattle Mariners third baseman Adrian Beltre, who has one year left on a four-year, $64 million deal, is another possibility.
Another option for the Angels is to sign a free-agent corner outfielder, of which there are plenty – Bobby Abreu, Adam Dunn and Pat Burrell.
The Angels would be interested in Manny Ramirez only if the market remains cold for him and he could eventually be signed for about what the Dodgers offered a month ago – $45 million over two years.
TEIXEIRA OPT-OUT CLAUSE?
Give credit to the long-woeful Nationals for pushing hard to sign Teixeira and provide the franchise with a wholesome, productive face entering their second season in their new stadium, and beyond. They believe they have a shot at landing him for the same reason the Orioles have waded into these deep waters – because Teixeira grew up in Maryland.
From Teixeira's perspective, however, signing with the Nationals or Orioles entails a risk that wouldn't apply to going with the Red Sox, Angels or Yankees. He already spent the first 4½ years of his career playing for the losing Texas Rangers and presumably wouldn't want another long playoff drought.
So expect Boras to insist on an opt-out clause if Teixeira signs with the Nationals or Orioles. If the team is still struggling when the clause kicks in – probably three years from now – Teixeira can move on. If the team has turned the corner and has become a playoff contender, he'd likely stay unless Boras believes he could get more money on the open market.
PEAVY STAYS PUT
San Diego Padres ace Jake Peavy won't become a Chicago Cub by the time the winter meetings conclude Thursday, sources from both teams said.
Padres general manager Kevin Towers had told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday night that if a deal wasn't completed Thursday, he'd move in a different direction. After the Rule 5 draft on Thursday, Towers pronounced the deal dead.
However, the Cubs remain optimistic that they can acquire Peavy, all but ignoring Towers' self-imposed deadline. A Cubs' source said that Peavy wants to pitch for the Cubs, but that the deal became too complicated, involving three or four teams and numerous players. The Cubs were unable to unload starter Jason Marquis and his $9.875 salary for 2009, a condition of taking on Peavy's existing contract that runs through 2012.
PUNTO RETURNS TO TWINS
Nick Punto isn't the full-time shortstop the Minnesota Twins are seeking, but he's been excellent insurance in the past and now will be for another two years. Punto, 31, signed a two-year deal for $8.5 million with an option for a third year Thursday.
Punto batted .284 last season and was the Twins' regular shortstop for much of the season. The Twins have had trouble filling the position since trading Jason Bartlett to the Tampa Bay Rays a year ago.