Nats make eight-year offer to Teixeira
Source places value of contract for first baseman at $160 million
LAS VEGAS -- The Nationals are showing how serious they are when it comes to bringing Maryland native Mark Teixeira to Washington, D.C.
However, the Nationals have competition when it comes to acquiring Teixeira; the Angels, Orioles, Red Sox and Yankees are also in the mix. In fact, a published report said that the Orioles offered Teixeira a seven-year, $150 million contract.
While he would not talk about the dollar figures, general manager Jim Bowden confirmed the Nationals made an offer to Teixeira. It's the first time that anyone in the Nationals' organization publicly announced that the club has serious interest in Teixeira.
Another National League source also said that Washington is not interested in free-agent outfielder Manny Ramirez because it doesn't see the 36-year-old as part of the club's long-term plans.
"We made a very concrete offer and Teixeira is our No. 1 priority," Bowden said. "I tried to be up front and honest. We are trying to build this club through development and scouting, through young players, through trades for young players. We also said if it was a free agent who was young and in his 20s, [we would want him] to be part of the long-term solution."
Teixeira has been Washington's top free-agent target since the offseason began. Incumbent first basemen Dmitri Young and Nick Johnson have been unable to stay healthy in recent seasons, and Teixeira, who has averaged 151 games per year across his six big league seasons, would be a durable replacement at the position.
Teixeira, who hit a combined .321 with 33 home runs and 121 RBIs for the Braves and Angels this past season, could join Ryan Zimmerman in anchoring the middle of a lineup that finished 28th in runs scored in 2008.
"He is so focused -- he is one of those guys that has tunnel vision," said Angels center fielder Torii Hunter about Teixeira. "He is watching film on the pitchers. He is a lot of fun. He is always laughing."
Teixeira played baseball, basketball and soccer at Mt. St. Joseph's High School in Baltimore. He set Maryland state records for career homers (29), RBIs (105) and runs (128).
"He has regional ties," said Teixeira's agent, Scott Boras."Certainly, family things is part of his consideration."
Teixeira told ESPN last month that he wanted to know who he would be playing for in 2009 by Christmas morning. But Boras sounded like a person who wasn't sure if he could get a deal done for Teixeira by then. The two have been talking daily on the phone.
"We have been going through a number of things," Boras said. "Again, I can't say something is imminent. He is considering his family, the economics of winning. All of those are in the evaluation of what he wants to do.
"You try to get the deal done as quickly as you can. A lot of these things are about economical and contractual elements and stipulations. Mark certainly understands the complexity of the situation, because he is dealing with a variety of clubs to evaluate. We'll see."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.