Mark Teixeira wants at least $184 mil – Red Sox back out of talks

According to a report by ESPN.com, free agent Mark Teixeira apparently is seeking a deal worth at least $184 million. And with that, the Boston Red Sox bid him adieu.

Mark TeixeiraRed Sox officials have maintained privately all fall that while they would love to have Teixeira, they are very comfortable going into 2009 with the team that they have, with Mike Lowell at third base, Kevin Youkilis at first base and David Ortiz as the designated hitter, backing strong pitching.

And if Teixeira were to sign with the Los Angeles Angels or the Washington Nationals or another team, the Red Sox would be in a position to take advantage of some of the free-agent bargains that have developed in this frigid economic climate; the asking prices for players like Derek Lowe are bound to drop, general managers believe, because there are so few teams willing to spend decent money.

One executive familiar with the meeting said the Red Sox were told that in order to get Teixeira, they would have to offer about $24.3 million a year over eight years — or a deal for about $195 million. The Red Sox walked out, and Henry issued this statement to the AP: “We met with Mr. Teixeira and were very much impressed with him. After hearing about his other offers, however, it seems clear that we are not going to be a factor.”

Not surprisingly, the Yankees have re-entered the Teixeira sweepstakes, although the Angels might be the front-runners in bidding for his services.

Yankees people were thought on Friday to be debating the merits of Teixeira vs. Manny Ramirez, Boras’ other available slugging superstar, and there may be a split vote in the pinstripe hierarchy. While they all love Teixiera’s all-around play and character, Ramirez may be favored by some for his unmatched clutch hitting prowess, unique ability to tweak the rival Red Sox and to draw attention and dollars, but especially because he’d require a shorter term (perhaps three or four years as opposed to at least eight for Teixeira).

Meanwhile, there are signs that the Angels, who were thought to be trailing Boston a few days ago with a bid in the area of $165 million, might be readying for a move now. Some Angels baseball people figured that $160-to-170 million might be owner Arte Moreno’s limit, but that doesn’t look at all clear now.

Wow. It’s amazing to think that Teixeira might be heading back to the Angels after many reports had him as a lock to wind up in Boston. You have to admire the Red Sox for setting a limit and not backing away from that. They know the Yankees are trying to drive up the price so they set their max and are prepared to walk if that’s not enough.

I still say the Yankees are just trying to screw their competition and aren’t a true contender to sign Teixeira. And after these reports, I bet he re-signs with L.A. in the $184-range.

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