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Sox "Aggressively Pursuing" Teixeira?



Nah, it's not big news. This is just me signifying that I'm ready to talk about it.

There's two schools of thought on this acquisition, beyond the obvious. Well, the obvious first.

Teixeira is a legitimate middle-of-the-order anchor. He'll be 29 near the beginning of next season, and plays excellent defense at first base. Some 162 game averages: 40 2Bs, 36 HRs, 102 R, 121 RsBI (last two somewhat team-based, I know). .290/.378/.541 over his career. He's been very healthy over the course of his career, with games played since 2003: 146, 145, 162, 162, 132, 157. As much as any first baseman would be, he's a good investment over a number of years. He's been healthy and should age well. Right-handed, he should be able to take great advantage of the Monster. Left-handed, I imagine he'd be able to hit a lot of line drives to a big right-center field. 

First Option: Sign Tex, Trade Lowell.

So, we've signed Mark Teixeira to his required 42 year, 300 billion dollar contract. Done and done. We've got this greatly productive and defensively versatile youngish player in Kevin Youkilis (who is, in fact, older than Teixeira.) who can be moved to third base. The almost too-obvious solution to the log-jam is to trade the oldest and least-productive player. Couple caveats here: Lowell will be coming off of surgery and is 35. He also has $24M remaining over the next two years. He also has "no-trade protection" according to Cot's Contracts

Who would want Lowell? Well, what teams will be in the market for a 3b? The White Sox have Crede probably leaving via FA, and probably won't want to commit to a full year of either Uribe or Josh Fields. The Twins have several decent options at 3b, internally, but none of which are up to the level of a healthy Lowell. Cleveland could be interested, especially if they keep Peralta at SS rather than acquiring a better defensive option for the position. Lowell would be a defensive upgrade, easily, over Casey Blake, and Andy Marte probably isn't the answer. The Rangers, potentially? Doesn't seem like a smart move given the state of their pitching staff, but they might prefer Lowell over Ramon Vazquez. He'd represent an upgrade over Pedro Feliz for the Phillies. The Brewers could go with Lowell over Bill Hall. Offensively, Encarnacion can hack it at 3b for the Reds, but there are those who doubt he can hold up there on the defensive end. The Dodgers, depending upon whether they retain Blake. Giants? Doesn't seem smart for where they are right now, but he'd immediately become one of their biggest run producers. 

So, to recap: White Sox, Twins, Clevelands, Rangers, Phillies, Brewers, Reds, Dodgers, and Giants. There's nothing to indicate that any of these teams are interested; it's just meant as a list of teams for whom Lowell would/could be an upgrade over their ML options in 2008, and who can potentially afford at least a large chunk of his remaining contract. All that being said, he's still going to be tough to move. 35, coming off of hip surgery? Teams aren't going to be banging down the door, and we shouldn't expect anything big in return unless he's packaged with something else.

Second Option: Sign Tex, Keep Lowell.

Lowell's health status is uncertain. It's not entirely unreasonable to think we'll have to keep him until he plays some ST games anyway. The problem with this scenario in the long-term is that only Youkilis would be asked to be defensively versatile. Signing Tex means 145-150 games of him at 1b, with 5-10 games in the DH spot. Youks would play the remaining games at 1b, several at 3b, and some, potentially, in LF or RF. The issue here is that keeping Lowell means we'll probably play Lowell more often than not, which means Youks might get the least games played amongst Lowell, Papi, Teixeira, Bay, and himself, and if he keeps up his production from this past season, he should see more PAs than everyone but Teixeira and Papi. This mitigates the upgrade Teixeira could represent. Some people have said they'd enjoy having Lowell as a RH-bat off the bench, but more often than not, it would be Youks who would be the bat off the bench, and he's potentially just too good to waste in that kind of role. 

I'm not a fan of this option, but if the FO is really as interested in Tex as has been reported, then it might be the option we go with, at least until such a time as Lowell proves healthy.


So what do we do? Option 1, Option 2, or neither? Tex is going to be a LONG-term investment, and even if he doesn't get a 10-year contract, something in the neighborhood of 7-9 should be expected. He'll be signed through his mid-late 30s, without question. We also have Lars Anderson to consider. If he continues  to progress, conservatively, we could look for him to contribute at least by mid-2010 or the beginning of 2011. He's probably not going to play anything but 1b or DH. Do we block him, then trade him? Do we bring him along real slowly, then move Tex to the DH spot in 2011? We don't have a real projectable long-term solution at 3b, as opposed to Lars, who is looking better and better as time goes by.

We also have to consider that there's no guarantee that we sign Tex. The Yankees will probably be involved, no matter what they may be saying right now, and the Angels, if they're smart, will push hard to keep him in their lineup for a full season and many more. That's just two big-resource teams who could be involved. There's no telling who else might back the money truck up to his house in order to get him to sign. Thoughts?