Mark Teixeira/Winter Meetings Day 4 Open Thread

Getting an early start on the final day of the Winter Meetings with this tidbit from Ken Rosenthal:

The Red Sox are making progress in their quest to sign free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira, according to a major-league source.

"Headway was being made earlier today," one source said.

A rival general manager whose plans could be affected by the Red Sox's addition of Teixeira also indicated that a deal was getting closer. …

Teixeira is seeking a 10-year contract for at least $20 million per season. The Red Sox preference would be to sign him to a deal between six and eight years.

With the Yankees fulfilling their No. 1 offseason objective, the Red Sox really have no choice but to counter. Sure, they could easily win 100 games with the team they have — it's not like they were so far off with subpar seasons from Josh Beckett and David Ortiz — but resting on your laurels (or on your suddenly old-looking lineup) is no way to stay dominant, particularly when your chief rivals are willing to break the bank to get significantly better. Something tells me we may see an eight-year, $200 million deal from the Red Sox, and I'd be perfectly fine with that.
23 comments… add one
  • Reposting this from the thread below because I think it’s relevant:
    Tying up 200 million in a good, but not great, 1B
    Repeating this over and over again does not make your opinion any more valid. Mark Teixeira has just put up OPS+ of 150 in back-to-back seasons, and he’s 28.
    Care to guess how many first basemen since 1995 have done that in EITHER their age 27 or age 28 seasons? Twelve. Their names:
    Pujols, Delgado, Thomas, Bagwell, Helton, Teixeira, Giambi, Thome and Vaughn.
    Who did it both years? Pujols (157 and 190), Thomas (179 and 178) and Teixeira (150 and 153).
    Let’s look at it this way: Best OPS+ for first basemen their age 27 and 28 seasons combined, back to 1975. Ten players with a 150 OPS+ or better. Thomas, Pujols, Bagwell, Delgado, McGriff, Murray, Helton, Teixeira, Will Clark and Andre Thornton.
    Go back to 1955 and you add four more: Boog Powell, Dick Allen, Jim Gentile and Willie McCovey.
    Go back to 1935, and add four more again: Jimmie Foxx, Johnny Mize, Hank Greenberg and Phil Cavarretta.
    Go to the beginning of the live-ball era in 1920, and add three more: Lou Gehrig, George Sisler and Jim Bottomley.
    So in the live-ball era, there have been 21 first basemen with an OPS+ of at least 150 in their age 27 and 28 seasons combined. Eight are in the Hall of Fame, four probably should be when they become eligible (Pujols, Thomas, Bagwell and Helton), there’s terrific cases to be made for two more (Delgado and Allen). You’ve also got generationally great hitters who fall short, such as McGriff, Powell, Cavarretta, Thornton and Will Clark.
    That leaves exactly one player of the 21 who fell flat — Jim Gentile, whose presence here is largely because of his insane 187 OPS+ age 27 season in 1961. He never topped 130 after that, posted a 125 in 119 games at age 31, then played just 81 games the next season and went to Japan before retiring.
    Now, two seasons is a pretty small sample, so let’s go all the way back to Tex’s breakout age-24 season, from which he has a 140 OPS+. How many first basemen in the live-ball era did so well from ages 24 through 28?
    Just eighteen. Don Mattingly and Jim Thome jump in. Thornton, Cavarretta, Gentile, Allen and Sisler drop out.
    So Teixeira’s company grows even more elite:
    – Eight Hall of Famers (Gehrig, Foxx, Mize, Greenberg, McCovey and Bottomley).
    – Five active or recently retired players who should or will eventually make the Hall (Thomas, Pujols, Bagwell, Thome and Helton).
    – Four borderline cases of varying candidacy strengths (McGriff, Clark, Mattingly, Delgado).
    – And Mark Teixeira.
    Not a single first baseman with the OPS+-based career arc of Mark Teixeira thus far is anything less than a borderline Hall of Famer — even if the currently active players all retired tomorrow.
    Only three of those who have retired failed to be productive through their age 36 seasons — Gehrig, who was stricken with ALS after age 35; Foxx, who drank himself into oblivion after age 33; and Mattingly, whose back woes cut short his career after age 33. A fair number put together productive seasons into their late 30s, though it gets pretty sketchy after age 37.
    The historical data does not give any reason for concern — Teixeira is a healthy switch-hitting slugger with a career track for greatness. Nothing’s a sure thing, but he’s as close as you can get.

    Paul SF December 11, 2008, 3:06 am
  • Go Nationals!

    Nick-YF December 11, 2008, 6:48 am
  • I will contest only the “the Sox could easily win 100” this coming season line for now – winning 100, no matter the team, just isn’t easy. In this division especially.
    The Sox should sign Tex.

    SF December 11, 2008, 6:49 am
  • for the record, i’m with you on this one paul, he’s great, not just good…it’s funny, i know the yanks are focused on pitching right now, but have they withdrawn from the tex sweepstakes, conceding to the sox, or nats?…the stumbling block right now might be the number of years…my sources ;) , which include an unnamed rival fan, at an undisclosed location, told me that the sox are interested in him for 6-8 years, while tex [boras] has said he wants 10…i think the nat offer was for 8, so the sox would appear to have to extend at least that far unless they really sweeten the pot another way…not trying to sound smug, but from the yankee perspective, what’s another couple hundred mil for one of the best baseball free agents to come around recently, to go along with that expensive shiny new pitching staff…otherwise we go into the season with a first base platoon of swisher and posada…

    dc December 11, 2008, 8:36 am
  • I may be late to the party on this one, but…Rumors are saying Lugo is going to the D’Backs for Eric Byrnes. Seems like a steal for the Sox and I don’t really understand why Byrnes would want to be a 4th OF’r, but good for the Sox.

    John - YF December 11, 2008, 8:38 am
  • Steve Phillips made a few comments on the radio re: He called Tex a “good, not great player.” He also said the knock on Tex is that he doesn’t want to hit in pressure situations, he’s looking to walk as opposed to driving in the run. I don’t know where he gets his stuff from and who knows if it’s true but it just goes to show you that there’s always someone that’s going to knock you no matter how good you are.

    John - YF December 11, 2008, 8:42 am
  • If you’re going to re-post, then so shall I:
    @ Atheose
    You want to be paying Teixeira $20 million/year to OPS+ 100 and 117 and in two of the last three years of an eight year deal? What if the cost goes to ten years?
    And Teixieira isn’t even Helton, unless you’re talking about the one that hits outside of Coors.
    Helton – Road: .294 .394 .494
    Teixeira – Road: .273 .368 .502
    Teixeira just doesn’t have the power or patience that ages well. His baseline is already low to begin with.
    @ Paul
    You’re just looking at confirming evidence. That’s never a way to approach reasoned analysis, unless you work for Scott Boras.
    Problem is, 150+ OPS is completely arbitrary. It creates a group where there isn’t one. If you merely boost that to 160 OPS+, Teixeira falls by the wayside because he isn’t, and has never been a hitter equal to those twelve names. Teixeira has never hit for the power to suggest his bat will age well.
    You make Will Clark a footnote. Except he fits much better than any of the other names you give more attention to. He’s in Teixiera’s top 10 comparables and he also had back to back 150 OPS+ seasons at age 27 and 28 (154 and 150). But he had better numbers than Teixeira’s ever had and at younger age (175 OPS+ at 25 and 160 OPS+ at age 24). And he went on to stay mostly productive, just not HOF, or borderline, productive.
    Will Clark was a very good baseball player. Just not a Hall of Famer. And not one I’d have wanted to pay $20 million a year for six to eight years after his 30th birthday, not even if it means two very good years before that.
    Will Clark’s trajectory is Teixeira’s best case. And that just isn’t good enough for the dollars and years required.
    Here’s Will Clark after his back-to-back 150 OPS+ years at age 27 and 28:
    29: 117
    30: 140
    31: 123
    32: 101
    33: 128
    34: 126
    35: 127
    36: 144 (split season)
    That’s a very good run to round out his career but averaging about 120 games a year. It’s just not worth $20 million/year and the roster and payroll inflexibility it creates at position where finding offense isn’t that difficult.
    For those numbers, sign Giambi for a fraction of the cost and rotate him in with Ortiz and Lowell. Defense at 1B matters little any ways and it’s the least important defensive position. He’d be fine filler until Lars has arrived.

    Rob December 11, 2008, 9:03 am
  • “Defense at 1B matters little any ways”
    And with we welcome back A long lost friend.

    John - YF December 11, 2008, 9:06 am
  • @ John

    Rob December 11, 2008, 9:12 am
  • Indeed.
    I thought that before I even saw your comment, John.

    Brad December 11, 2008, 9:12 am
  • Brad – I meant to tell you congrats on your Thanksgiving prize you landed. Quite a picture BTW!
    Lugo for Byrnes, how do you feel?

    John - YF December 11, 2008, 9:16 am
  • Tex is a monster, but I think 10 year deals are a bit outrageous for anybody. That said, he’ll probably give the Sox at least 4-5 good years, so I don’t know you want to amortize it out. His OPS+ is impressive, but it’s for a heavy hitting position – which means both that it might only be incrementally better, and that even a minor fall to “regular-ish”.. well, then it’s a 20 mil weight that you probably can’t trade. (Without giving in cash, though maybe in 8 years we’ll have either a strong market or an insane inflation..)
    That said, I don’t have the numbers for 1B’s and such, so I’m totally open to be wrong.

    Lar December 11, 2008, 9:30 am
  • Good numbers Paul… and that’s not even including defense.
    Rob, if Tex can OPS+ 150 in 6 of his 8 years I’ll consider it a success, even if he’s only league-average in those other two seasons. And seriously, what’s your definition of a first-baseman “panning out”? Good observation John, I thought this all sounded too familiar.
    I agree Lar, I hope the deal isn’t 10 years. But I’m perfectly happy with 8.

    Atheose December 11, 2008, 9:55 am
  • if Tex can OPS+ 150 in 6 of his 8 years
    That’s mighty optimistic. Will Clark, who had four 150 OPS+ years by age 28 (where Teixeira has only had two), never hit that threshold again and only twice in the following eight years went above 130 OPS+ (140 OPS+ in only 110 games at age 30 and 144 OPS+ at age 36 in his last season).
    Mark Teixeira isn’t even Will Clark, and that’s his best comparison. The hope is eight to ten years of 120 OPS+ with two or three better. That’s not worth locking up $20 million a year for the next decade or close to it. In fact, it’s a big mistake waiting to happen.

    Rob December 11, 2008, 10:10 am
  • Paul wrote:
    “With the Yankees fulfilling their No. 1 offseason objective, the Red Sox really have no choice but to counter.”
    Really? No choice but to spend as lavishly as the Yankees? None at all?
    You’d think from that statement that the Yankees and Sox both made the playoffs last year, and that New York has no catching up to do.
    The Sox might get Tex, and he would make any team stronger, including Boston.
    But the Theo Epstein Experience went into the trading season with a stronger existing cast and book than the Hank ‘N Brian Show — and thus have a lot more room to be flexible and creative in their moves.

    Hudson December 11, 2008, 1:30 pm
  • (P.S. Not sure whom I like less — Lugo or Byrnes. Ewww. Eric Byrnes. He has more value than JLug, but I’ve always found the guy irritating.)

    Hudson December 11, 2008, 1:32 pm
  • This Rob fellow sure sounds familiar…

    LocklandSF December 11, 2008, 2:15 pm
  • I feel like I’ve been used. John, Brad and Lockland are all far wiser than I…
    I suppose Steve Phillips was referring to Teixeira’s monster stretch run for a playoff team last season, or his near-.500 batting average in the playoffs?

    Paul SF December 11, 2008, 4:42 pm
  • “I feel like I’ve been used. John, Brad and Lockland are all far wiser than I…”
    It wAs An eAsy mistAke my friend, don’t be yourself up.
    I wasn’t referring to Phillips comments as truthful or knowledgeable by any means…My point in all that is there are so many darn sides to evaluation and everyone thinks theirs is the best. Phillips annoys me to know end, primarily because his colleagues give him so much respect!

    John - YF December 11, 2008, 4:56 pm
  • Subtle as a jackhammer.

    John - YF December 11, 2008, 4:57 pm
  • John,
    Thanks a lot man.
    I didn’t mean to CC you on the email, but I forgot you were in my contact list, which I guess turned out okay.
    Good thing you weren’t offended..I think I sent Paul the same one, and for the same reason.
    Also, I have found a new CC thing. When he starts copying the careers of other guys, I have jokes in the bank. hahah.:))

    Brad December 11, 2008, 8:58 pm
  • aaannd..
    And yes, I’m wise..Which is why I haven’t gotten into this crazy Tex conversation.

    Brad December 11, 2008, 9:05 pm
  • Great comparison of Teixeira to Will Clark. Very similar stats and similar body types, except Clark was a better hitter and at an earlier age.
    But if the Sox aren’t going to upgrade at the much more critical positions (catcher, shortstop, centerfield), they might as well blow a huge chunk on Teixeira. It won’t hurt for another four years and even then Henry’s still a billionaire. It’s not my money.

    Dave SF December 12, 2008, 6:32 am

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