No. 5 overall pick agrees to $9.5 million deal

Updated: November 21, 2003, 5:41 PM ET
Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas -- First-round pick Mark Teixeira agreed to a $9.5 million, four-year deal with the Texas Rangers on Wednesday, ending the threat that the third baseman would return to Georgia Tech.

Teixeira, the fifth pick in June's draft, was given a major league contract with a $4.5 million signing bonus, payable over three years.

The deal was hammered out between Rangers officials and Teixeira's agent, Scott Boras, the same person who brokered the $252 million, 10-year deal that All-Star shortstop Alex Rodriguez got from Texas last winter.

Texas owner Tom Hicks called Teixeira a special player, one he believes could join A-Rod on the left side of the Rangers infield within two years.

"He has a real good chance to be in the major leagues in 2003. It's really up to him," Hicks said. "He's the best player we've ever drafted as a franchise. He has more clear potential to be successful in the major leagues than any other we've seen."

Teixeira, considered one of the best switch-hitters in college baseball, hit .409 with 36 homers and 165 RBI in 140 games over three seasons at Georgia Tech.

"I'm sure there will be some expectations, but I put high expectations on myself," Teixeira said by phone from Atlanta. "Hopefully, I will become a producer for the Rangers. I'm just going to go out there and play, and whenever they need me, I'll be ready."

The Rangers are expected to put him on the 40-man roster and send him to the Florida Instructional League.

Teixeira was the national college player of the year in 2000 when he hit .427 with 18 homers and 80 RBI.

A broken right ankle kept him out for 10 weeks this past season. In 16 games as a designated hitter, he hit .419 with five homers and 20 RBI.

Although he did not play the field for Georgia Tech for 16 games this spring, Teixeira has said his ankle is 100 percent.

Teixeira is expected in Texas on Thursday, when he will undergo another physical before the contract is finalized and signed. Hicks said the Rangers have been assured that Teixeira's ankle is completely healed.

"It feels great. I can run full speed," Teixeira said. "I've been working out every single day, rehabbing, running a lot and getting it strong."

Teixeira has remained this week in Atlanta, where he sat out as classes began at Georgia Tech on Monday. Had Teixeira attended any classes to start his senior year, the Rangers would have lost their rights to him.

Teixeira will be paid $250,000 in 2002 followed by yearly salaries of $750,000, $1.5 million and $2.5 million.

Hicks said real negotiations with Teixeira didn't really begin until the last few days. That is the way Boras wanted to do it.

"We didn't really drag on, we just didn't get started until the end and that created a sense of urgency for everyone," Hicks said. "There was the normal give and take."

The sticking points apparently were never over money, but were related to technical issues related to the status of the contract should there be another work stoppage in baseball after this season.

"I was optimistic the whole time that we'd get something done," Teixeira said. "I'm not much involved in the business side. My role is playing ball."

Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press