Sunday, October 26, 2008

Free Agent Options - Mark Teixeira

Teixeira would be a welcome addition to any team. It's not too often that a gold glove caliber, switch hitting power threat comes along. And with the health concerns for David Ortiz, J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell, Teixeira would provide the middle of the Red Sox lineup with some stability. For this reason, the Sox are sure to check the price on Teixeira.

Still, I don't think the chances of seeing "Tex" in a Red Sox uniform next year are very good. Before the Red Sox get in on the bidding, they would have to find a way to move Mike Lowell and the $24 million left on his contract over the next two years. It's unlikely that the Red Sox would be able to move Lowell without paying for some of his contract, which would waste money the Red Sox could use on free agents like AJ Burnett and Brian Fuentes.

Once the Red Sox found a suitor for Lowell, they would then have to enter a bidding war with the Angels, Yankees, Dodgers, Orioles and Braves. Epstein has over payed for players in the past such as J.D. Drew and Julio Lugo. But those were moves of necessity. Going into 2007 the Red Sox were without a shortstop and rightfielder. When it comes to luxuries, Epstein has been hesitant to overpay, or give out longterm contracts as was the case with Pedro Martinez and Johnny Damon.

Another factor which makes any Teixeira deal unlikely is the prescense of Red Sox prospect Lars Anderson. Anderson is not only the team's top prospect, but also the best first baseman prospect in the game. He hit .316/.436/.526 last year in the pitching friendly environment of Double-A Portland. There's a good chance that he'll be ready to take over the job of everyday first baseman in 2010, at which point the Red Sox will already have Mike Lowell, Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz under contract. So why would Epstein overpay to add one more corner outfielder to the log jam?

Teixiera's most likely destination next year is probably the Yankees who actually need a first baseman and won't hesitate to overpay for one. While such a signing will be unpleasant for Red Sox fans, it won't do anything to address the Yankees greatest weakness - pitching.

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