The Los Angeles Angels withdrew their eight-year offer to free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira on Sunday, Dec. 21, ending any speculation that the best position player in this season’s off-season market would play anywhere other than the East Coast.
As if Los Angeles had any real chance of signing the big lug. He’s an East Coast guy and only used the Angels as leverage against the other teams for which he’d clearly prefer to play. Why? Because the Angels are the only other team for which the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox have respect — on the field as well as in free-agent bidding.
The Angels put it to the Yankees annually and have given the Red Sox, who have clearly sold their souls, headaches in the playoffs despite a lack of results. They’ve also been able to sign marquee free agents like Vlad Guerrero and Torii Hunter ahead of their East Coast competition, much to the dismay of the Steinbrenners and Theo Epstein.
Now Teixeira is left to pick his poison. Yanks or Sox? Evil Empire vs. Sox (gag) Nation. He might as well be choosing between barf and puke. And it serves him right, in my opinion.
He set himself up for this when he accepted a trade from the Atlanta Braves to Los Angeles at the deadline last season. His agent, a guy named Scott Boras who had already got him a huge free-agent contract with the Braves, knew he could do even better if the Angels were involved somehow. And he was right.
Case in point? The Angels gave up their starting 1B, Casey Kotchman, in return for Teixeira. Los Angeles would HAVE TO try to sign Teixeira this off-season. And they did. At least that’s the outward appearance.
Well, so much for that.
So what does this all mean? In my mind, the move really signals but two things: 1. Teixeira hired a good agent. 2. The Angels still need an MLB quality first baseman.
So let’s watch as “Big Tex” chooses where he wants to have career fizzle. Will it be the seven-year, $160 million contract from New York or the six-year, $140 million contract from Boston? Either way, it’s nothing more than the means to a sorry end in a city where water/negativity rain/reign.
Meanwhile, here where the sun shines and the media adores, the Angels will look to a second-tier free agent like Adam Dunn or to their bench (Robb Quinlan) or minor leagues (Kendry Moralas) to fill the enormous hole left in their lineup.
Adam Dunn may have never looked so attractive.