Sources: Teixeira to Orioles unlikely

Updated: December 17, 2008, 11:48 AM ET
By Buster Olney | ESPN The Magazine

Unless free agent Mark Teixeira is willing to give the Orioles a major hometown discount, it does not appear he will be playing in Baltimore.

Mark Teixeira

Teixeira

The Orioles have stood by their initial offer and have not upgraded it, and sources say that the other teams involved in the bidding -- the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels and Washington Nationals -- have gone beyond Baltimore's proposal for the slugging first baseman.

Teixeira, 28, is considered one of the top unsigned free agents. He batted .308 with 33 home runs, 121 RBIs and a .552 slugging percentage for the Angels and Atlanta Braves last season.

The only way the Orioles can be considered a serious player for Teixeira now, sources say, would be if the Maryland native were to take their offer, which is believed to be for seven years and about $150 million.

"The Orioles are out of it, unless Teixeira really, really wants to play there," said one source.

According to MLB.com, the Nationals' offer stands at $160 million for eight years. During last week's winter meetings in Las Vegas, the Angels made an eight-year pitch to Teixeira's camp.

The New York Yankees, meanwhile, came into the offseason focused on upgrading their pitching, and have spent $243 million on CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. But they are not seriously engaged in the Teixeira talks at this point. According to a source close to the negotiations, the Yankees have not taken the step that the Red Sox, Angels, Nationals and Orioles have taken -- the Yankees have not even made an offer on the first baseman.

Although the Red Sox are considered among the front-runners for Teixeira, they won't offer him a 10-year deal, principal owner John Henry said, according to the Boston Herald.

Asked if the Red Sox would rule out offering a free agent a guaranteed contract longer than any other in franchise history, Henry, without naming names, made it clear that won't happen, according to the Herald.

"Yes," Henry responded in an e-mail, according to the Herald. "The Red Sox effectively had a 10-year deal with a player determined not to live up to his contract. A lot can change over 10 years, for both sides."

Manny Ramirez, who had an eight-year contract with the Red Sox with two one-year team options, effectively forced a trade out of Boston last summer. He wound up having two highly productive months with the Dodgers and helped Los Angeles reach the playoffs.

Buster Olney is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.

Buster Olney | email

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine

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