When the Yankees signed Mark Teixeira on Dec. 23, 2008, it was seemingly a stealth move by the organization. While it was clear from media reports that the Nationals, Red Sox and Angels were all interested in landing the Gold Glove first baseman, the Yankees — an obvious destination for Teixeira — had seemed all but uninterested in the switch-hitter.
In an interview with WFAN on Friday, Teixeira revealed why. He had asked teams not to negotiate through the media, and only the Yankees, it seems, were able to honor that request. Said the first baseman:
“I always had the Yankees in my sights, and one thing my agent and I had asked every single team is, we’re not going to negotiate through the media, and we ask you not to. The Yankees were really the only team that did that. The other teams went out and told everybody their offers, told everybody that they talked to me, that they made this call, made that trip. The Yankees kept quiet. We talked all winter. When they were ready to make their final offer, it was a great offer, and my wife and I were excited about going to New York.”
Of the Red Sox, Teixeira was particularly critical. “I think in the end, it probably worked against them a little bit, because everyone thought the Red Sox were my No. 1 choice,” Teixeira said. “The Yankees had a leg up all along.”
It’s really interesting, to me at least, to see Teixeira pursue this line of thinking. With the onset of the Internet and the rise of blogging, free agent deals and trades have lost any sense of secrecy. Beat writers race to get rumors out there, and everyone else passes them along as quasi-facts in order to analyze them. Teams, then, have to make a concerted effort to keep negotiations under wraps.
Based on What Teixeira is saying, the Yankees did just that. Throughout December, we knew that the Yankees and Texiera were a match made in a heaven. After all, Teixeira, turning 29 right after Opening Day, was the obvious man to replace Jason Giambi, but the Yanks were quiet. Now we know they were quiet about it on purpose, and in the end, it helped them land the big prize.
I’m sure Boston fans will be all sour grapes about this, but that’s the way things are. Respect the player, respect the process, and land yourself the big fish.