By all public accounts last night, it seemed as though the Sox had pulled out of the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes. After a night to sleep on it, Jon Heyman’s “multiple baseball sources” say that’s not true. Rather, the Red Sox have made their best offer to Teixeira; they won’t go any higher; and the first baseman’s future is in his own hands. This may just be a dance the two sides are playing to stall negotiations or it may portend a final outcome in which Teixeira and Scott Boras just follow the money. The Yankees are playing this one close to the vest.
Additional pontification by Joe.
The most interesting two paragraphs in the linked Madden article, I think, are these:
It was believed that the Red Sox’s offer to Teixeira was for eight years at around $170 million and that Angels owner Arte Moreno topped out at $160 million over eight years in his offer.
With those figures floating around, it’s not clear what “other offers” Henry was referring to. According to a source, Boras informed the Red Sox that if they were willing to go to $184 million over eight years, they could have Teixeira.
So, like Ben, I believe this is just another part of the dance. The $184 million over eight years represents a $23 million AAV, or exactly what CC Sabathia commanded. I think that, ultimately, the Red Sox would be willing to add Teixeira at this amount. They just don’t want to jump into it now, when it is uncertain whether Teixeira has a better offer in hand than the rumored eight year, $170 million offer from the Sox.
Most interesting, of course, is the final line. “[I]f they were willing to go to $184 million over eight years, they could have Teixeira.” Sounds like that’s an opportunity to swoop in and nab Teixeira. Perhaps, then, the rumors of an insane offer from Washington are overblown (Feinsand’s article mentions an eight-year, $120 million deal, which clearly wouldn’t cut it). Perhaps the $170 million offer is, in fact, the best offer officially on the table, and Boras just wants to squeeze out as much as possible. The Red Sox see this, and are backing off for the moment, confident that their offer will remain the best.
It’s tempting, at least to the fan, to think that all the Yankees would have to do is phone Boras and say “we’ll give Teixeira eight years and $184 million.” If it’s that easy, I’m sure many of you are thinking, why don’t the Yanks just do it? I’m not sure of their exact reasons. I’m sure it has plenty to do with the current payroll scheme, both for the 2009 team and for long term projection. It probably also takes into consideration the relative value of Teixeira — in that he’s not worth the payout.
Clearly, I think the Yanks should do this. However, I realize that if they don’t, they have their reasons, many of which I’m not privy to. It’s easy for you and me to project decisions for the Yanks. We’re passionate observers on the outside looking in. We want what’s best for the team, but we don’t have all the relevant information at hand.
Let me repeat: If I’m Brian Cashman, I’m spending the bulk of my Friday convincing Hal Steinbrenner to okay the funds to acquire Teixeira.
The view from above at night. (Photo by Tom Kaminski/WCBS 880)
For five hours a day, Tom Kaminski patrols the skies above New York in WCBS 880 AM’s helicopter. Last night, he happened to swing by Yankee Stadium following the Sabathia-Burnett press conference, and the Yanks had seemingly left the line on for him. It’s hard not to get excited over the new stadium when the shots look as good as the one above.
Kaminski also shot the interior of the new stadium with the lights on from a few angles. You can see the full gallery by following either of those links, and as a bonus, check out the half-deconstructed Shea Stadium too.
During the Winter Meetings, as it became clear that the Yankees would indeed land CC Sabathia, Joe wrote a piece about the importance of patience. He talked about the Sabathia signing through the lens of the Johan Santana shenanigans that went on during the winter of 2007.
On Thursday, as the Yankees introduced CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett to New York, one team official expounded on this idea. Long after the press conference was over, Brian Cashman sat down with one of the YES Network reporters and talked about the courting of Sabathia. It obviously wasn’t just some spurt-of-the-moment idea that formed since the 2008 season ended.
It had, in fact, been a goal of the Yankee front office since last season and Sabathia’s impending free agency was one of the primary reasons why the Yankees never completed the Santana trade. As Cashman said, the Sabathia signing was the “completion of the concept.” Cashman noted that the Yanks had CC on the radar since being bounced by Cleveland in 2007. Sabathia was, after all, a “premiere player available for just a draft choice.”
It’s interesting to hear Cashman use these words so unequivocally. The Yankees understand — better, at times, than many of their fans do — that it pays to wait one season to land that top tier pitcher through free agency. There is no need to overpay in prospects, players and money for a pitcher when you can land one nearly as good six or eight months later for just money and a draft pick.
Of course, at the same time, Cashman realized that this wasn’t an easy wait. “We took a lot of hits going through that process,” he said. The Yanks GM also was well aware that there was “no guarantee” that Sabathia woud sign with the Yanks.
In the end, though, these words were telling. Behind Cashman’s rational lies the reason for the Yanks’ huge offer for Sabathia. They wanted to ensure that no one would outbid them a season after intentionally losing out on Santana. Who knows how the move will pan out? Nothing suggests Sabathia won’t excel in New York. But as Brian Cashman knows, a lot depends on CC. Right now, passing on Santana to wait for Sabathia was the right move. Now we just have to wait for the games to start to make sure it remains the right move ten months from now.
Can you believe it? I can’t. Yet it’s coming from up top. Red Sox owner John Henry has said, in so many words, that his team will not sign Mark Teixeira. His exact words:
“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.”
You can follow the entire saga on MLB Trade Rumors. No one expected this, at least not this soon. The Red Sox, the team so many considered the frontrunners for Teixeira, will, in the words of the owner himself, not be factors. It appears, from Henry’s words, the price tag is a bit too high. Reports of the Red Sox offer varied, though WCVB-TV claims it was eight years and $184 million, or a $23 million average annual value.
Boston could obviously jump back into the picture, but for now it appears they’ll let the first baseman sign elsewhere. Clearly, I expect a flurry of “now the Yankees have to get him” comments. Think about this, though. There’s at least one offer out there better than eight years and $184 million. Should the Yankees go higher than $25 million a season for Teixeira?
Funny how quickly this:
The [unnamed baseball] official believes that the Yankees are “going hard” after Ramirez, to the point where they are willing to give him a three-year deal worth from $22 million to $25 million per year.
Turns into this:
The New York Daily News has already reported the Yankees have a three-year, $66 million offer out to Manny.
Thanks, Cafardo, for totally and completely playing telephone with this one.
Oh, and this is the open thread for tonight. So discuss away.
During yesterday’s somewhat heated discussion on the sketcy goings-on surrounding the land deal for the new Yankee Stadium, one of the RAB commenters asked exactly what the penalty could be for any illegal dealings. At the time, I had no idea, but I shot off an e-mail to Neil deMause who I knew would an answer.
The stadium deal guru had just finished his own Village Voice piece on the topic, and it featured an answer in the last paragraph:
So what happens if it turns out the city cooked the books? Kucinich’s subcommittee staffers say the IRS could conduct an audit; if it turns out there were “material misrepresentations” by the city, the bonds could be stripped of their tax-exempt status. (An IRS spokesperson said he’d have to get back to us on this.) And if nothing else, this should make for some fireworks when the IDA considers the Yanks’ request for $259 million in new tax-exempt bonds — now slated for a public hearing on January 15 at 10 am at 110 William Street.
So that’s that. It’s not that much of a big deal for the Yankees or the City. Someone will get slapped with a fine, and they’ll have to pony up the dough. But no one is going to cart Lonn Trost off to jail or anything drastic like that.
Is anyone else psyched after the press conference? Mike and I are. Yeah, I know they don’t mean much, and that the players pretty much script what they’ll say. Still, it’s good to have an exciting feeling about the team in the depths of winter. We’re just under two months away from pitchers and catchers, so events like this are appreciated. I wonder if we’ll see another one before February…
Will the Yankees add a bat? We’ve been talking about it all week, but there’s no real consensus. I think the Yankees could do a lot worse than the lineup they currently plan to field. It relies heavily on some players to bounce back from poor 2008 seasons, but a few of them, Swisher and Cano, are young and have histories of being good hitters. Unfortunately, until they prove otherwise Posada and Matsui will remain red flags. That’s what happens when you’re in your mid- to late-thirties and are coming off injuries.
We also take questions from readers. There were some really good ones this week. Not to be a spoiler, but there’s one about Joba and the bullpen.
Onto the podcast. It is available in a number of formats. You can download it here by right clicking on that link and selecting Save As. If you want to play it in your browser, just left click the link. You can also subscribe to the podcast feed, which will send it to you every Thursday. You can also subscribe in iTunes. Finally, we have the embedded audio player below.
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So today’s the day: the Yanks will be introducing their two new prize pitchers at a 1pm press conference at the Old Yankee Stadium. Supposedly you can watch it on YES, but their TV schedule doesn’t agree. You will, however, be able to follow along on MLB.TV or ESPN/ESPNEWS. If you can’t get near a TV (stupid work), then follow along here, I’ll be liveblogging the whole schabang.
Now that the signings are official, I’ve updated the 2009 Draft Order Tracker. The Yanks surrender their first rounder to the Brewers and their second rounder to the Jays. Remember, they can’t lose the comp picks for Gerrit Cole and Scott Bittle, so their top pick is #29 overall, followed by #76 overall. There’s no possibility of that changing; that’s when they’ll pick come June no matter who else they sign. As it stands right now, the Brewers have three of the top 36 picks with the potential to add two more if Ben Sheets signs elsewhere.
So stick around for the next … I dunno, half-hour to an hour and follow along as CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett are thrown to the media wolves welcomed to New York.