Scott Boras and Mark Teixeira may have finally overplayed their hand.
First, Red Sox owner John Henry said that the Red Sox "are not going to be a factor" in signing the free agent first baseman. And now the Angels have publicly, perhaps decisively, removed themselves from the bidding by withdrawing their reported eight-year, $160 million offer. Angels GM Tony Reagins called the offer both "fair" and "substantial." It was also final. And now it's evidently off the table.
Having the Red Sox and Angels drop out of the running for your client is not beneficial. The fact that two of the richest, big-market teams in baseball have withdraw from negotiations has only weakened Boras's and Teixeira's bargaining power and leverage.
However, I'm inclined to believe that the Red Sox are not truly out of this — and the Angels retreat will surely help them. Apparently the executives in Anaheim surmised that Teixeira really does want to play for an eastern team after all.
That leaves the Orioles and their seven-year, $140 million offer, plus the Nationals and their eight-year, $160 million dollar offer.
The Yankees initial offer has been pulled from the table, and Hal Steinbrenner says the team has no intention of getting further involved. Sure, this could merely be a decoy before they swoop in with a massive offer that outsizes all the others. But the Yanks have already dropped nearly a quarter-billion dollars on just two pitchers this offseason. No matter what anyone is inclined to believe, they are not immune to a crumbling economy.
That leaves the Red Sox, whose offer has been reported as being at least $170 over eight years. The only team with two World Series titles and four ALCS appearances in the past six years made the biggest offer, and it still wasn't enough. It makes you wonder, what else would it take to get the deal done? A partial ownership stake in the team?
These negotiations have turned quite unsavory. Boras's less-than-stellar reputation amongst fans and baseball executives has likely declined even further. The strange thing is that Teixeira, whose rep had been rock solid and respectable to this point, will likely be tainted as well.
When the economy is tanking and so many Americans are laid off, evicted, foreclosed on, or otherwise suffering, having some guy insist that $170 million just isn't enough sounds disgusting, selfish and out-of-touch. Let's face it, this guy will collect at least $20 million annually to play baseball for seven months a year.
This is Christmastime, and for Mr. Teixeira it really is a "Wonderful Life."
Perhaps, hopefully, his guardian angel will teach him the error of his ways.
Copyright © 2008 Sean M. Kennedy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the author’s consent.