'Tex' takes Yanks' 8-year deal
The New York Yankees swooped in Tuesday and hooked prized free agent Mark Teixeira, reaching agreement with the first baseman on an eight-year contract worth $180 million, three sources involved in the negotiations told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.
The agreement, which is subject to a physical, includes a signing bonus of about $5 million and a complete no-trade provision, The Associated Press reported.
The Yankees had made an offer to Teixeira weeks ago, but then withdrew it; their intention all along was to make an offer, which they did formally on Tuesday, if it fell within parameters acceptable to the organization. The contract will pay Teixeira, who made it clear he wanted to make a decision on where to play next season and beyond by Christmas, an average of $22.5 million per season.
The Yankees had $88.5 million coming off the books (included in that total -- $23.4 million on Jason Giambi, $16 million on Bobby Abreu, and $11 million to both Mike Mussina and Carl Pavano), and even with the Teixeira contract, they expect their payroll to fall below $200 million. New York has committed $423.5 million in salary in the last month, with $161 million going to left-handed pitcher CC Sabathia ($23 million per over seven years) and $82.5 million to right-hander A.J. Burnett ($18.5 million per over five) last week alone.
Fantasy: Givens and limits
To say that Johnny Damon and Derek Jeter are locks for 100-plus runs, and A-Rod and Mark Teixeira 100-plus RBIs, is an understatement, Tristan Cockcroft writes. Blog
The deal also virtually eliminates any chance that free-agent outfielder Manny Ramirez has a landing place with the Yankees. New York does have money left to add another starting pitcher, most likely veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte at $10 million if he agrees to terms soon.
Teixeira's salary gives the Yankees, who are preparing to move into their $1.3 billion new ballpark in April, the four highest-paid players in Major League Baseball: himself, Sabathia, third baseman Alex Rodriguez (10 years, $275 million) and shortstop Derek Jeter (10 years, $189 million).
Teixeira's agreement also comes just one day after the Yankees received a $26.9 million luxury tax bill for 2008, when their streak of 13 consecutive playoff appearances ended. But with the revenue from their new stadium, where tickets are priced at up to $2,500 per game, their appetite for free agents wasn't diminished.
Just 28, Teixeira is the type of hitter the Yankees hope will revive an offense that dropped from a major league-leading 968 runs in 2007 to 789 last season. The switch-hitter batted a combined .308 with 33 homers and 121 RBIs for the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels, who acquired him July 29. He is also a two-time Gold Glove winner.
Likely Yankee lineup
What the Yankees' lineup could look like when they open the season on April 6 in Baltimore:
LF Johnny Damon
SS Derek Jeter
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
DH Hideki Matsui
RF Xavier Nady
C Jorge Posada
2B Robinson Cano
CF Melky Cabrera
Bench? -- Nick Swisher
The Yankees landed Teixeira at a time it was believed the Boston Red Sox or the Washington Nationals were the likeliest to be his future employer. The Red Sox's offer was believed to be in the range of $170 million, and the Nationals reached out with an offer perhaps greater than that of Boston.
Red Sox executives met with Teixeira and agent Scott Boras last week and were told they were being outbid. Teixeira, who is from Maryland, also had discussed signing with the Baltimore Orioles.
"We would have loved to have had the player, who appealed to us because of the special circumstances of where he's from and where we are. We diverted from our plan to try to get him," Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said. "But at the end of the day, it was just too much to pay for one player. It would handicap our ability to go forward."
The Nationals also held talks. General manager Jim Bowden said his team's owners "demonstrated their commitment to win, when they stepped up in negotiations ... at the highest level."
"We are disappointed we weren't able to sign him," Bowden wrote in an e-mail to the AP on Tuesday, "and will now turn our attention to several other opportunities to improve our major league club this offseason."
The Angels made an eight-year offer during the winter meetings but withdrew it last weekend.
Teixeira will replace a void in the Yankees lineup created by the departures of Giambi and Abreu, who became free agents. It also creates a logjam for New York, which acquired first baseman Nick Swisher last month in a trade with the Chicago White Sox.
Although Swisher also can play the outfield, the Yankees have a multitude of options there, including Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Melky Cabrera, Brett Gardner and Xavier Nady. Matsui currently is likely to be the designated hitter much of the time.