Now that CC Sabathia has signed with the Evil Empire, there is one big free agent out there on everyone's mind. That of course would be switch-hitting firstbaseman Mark Teixeira. Mark Teixeira is the apple of many a team's eye. Super (evil) agent, Scott Boras and Teixeira have made it clear that Marky Mark wants to be a $200 million man and wouldn't mind being locked down for the next 10 years.
Given the sorry state of the economy, that originally seemed unlikely. But now that as many as 3 teams are in a bidding war for his services with the Yankees watching the proceedings like a hawk on the sideline, there is a small chance that the 28-year-old Teixeira may receive a deal that comes close to those numbers. To this, I say: right on. Mark Teixeira is a grown man and a professional and he has the God-given right as an American to find the best deal and the best fit for him and his family. But for as much as I enjoy the free market of baseball and understand Teix's trying to get the best deal, I have to admit one thing.
Mark Teixeira creeps me the hell out.
For as long as he has been in the league, Teixeira has shown no sign of loyalty or even humanity. Every day he grabs his glove and his bat and goes to work. He plays hard and he plays well but he doesn't really seem to connect at all with his teammates or with the game of baseball altogether. He is the purest business man in a profession that requires he play a game. He has just been that way throughout his whole career.
Mark Teixeira was a star athlete in Baltimore when the Red Sox drafted him in the 9th round . After signing with Boras, Teixeira decided to decline a deal from one of the most storied franchises in baseball history because the money wasn't good enough. He opted to attend Georgia Tech, a college miles and miles away from his Maryland home, presumably because they offered him the best scholarship. Then Teixeira was drafted by the Texas Rangers with the 5th overall pick only because the Phillies at pick 4 were too afraid to deal with a Boras client. Teix played four successful seasons in Arlington before the Rangers traded him to the Braves. Why did the Rangers trade away a potential franchise player? Boras and Teixeira decided to turn down an 8 year, $140 million extension.
Teixeira played a successful year and a half in the National League before the Braves were forced to trade him away to the Angels for Casey Kotchman. Any idea why the Braves had to trade away a potential-franchise player who played four years of college in Georgia and should presumably have had an emotional attachment to the area? That's right, money wasn't good enough. So Teixeira finished out the year in Anaheim and didn't sign a new contract.
Now it is the off-season and Teixeira has made it clear that he will simply play for the team that offers him the most money. That means that his hometown team the Orioles, who went significantly outside of their comfort level to attempt to sign their native son but couldn't match bigger offers from Washington, Boston and Los Angeles, are out of the question. Teixeira will call whichever city that offers the most cold-hard cash home.
As I have said before, I have no problem with a player accepting the best deal. CC Sabathia just gave in to the Yankees absurd offer and I found a way to forgive him. But something about Teixeira is different. In his five years in the league, Mark Teixeira has not given me a single shred of evidence that he is a human being with feelings and a passion for a kid's game. As far as I know, Mark Teixeira is just a bat-swinging robot who only operates when you put $200 million in his slot. Mark Teixeira is just a mercenary robot. And that's scary.
Chicago (AL) signs 3B/UTIL. Dayan Viciedo to 4 year, $10 million deal
The Sox seem to have themselves quite a pipeline in Cuba. First 26-year-old Utility phenom Alexei Ramirez arrived like an answer to the White Sox middle-infield prayers. Now comes Viciedo to help out in other areas. Everything I have read on this guys suggests that he is no where near the defensive presence that Ramirez is. But he has an excellent bat with power potential. The White Sox don't really need any more middle-of-the-order mashers, but they do need to get younger and Viciendo can help them there. Unfortunately, it does not appear that he can help them become more athletic. A cool, one time ten milly for a potential power bat must have been too good to pass up. But they are going to have to hope he is not a complete bust or those 4 years are going to seem like an eternity.
Colorado signs RP Alan Embree to 1 year, $2.25 million deal
$2.25 million for a proven relief pitcher? I don't know about you but that seems like a bargain to me, especially for a classic left-handed batter executioner. If Colorado keeps Huston Street and adds another starting pitcher, they may actually have a chance at winning the horrid NL West.
Kansas City signs RP Kyle Farnsworth to 2 year, $8.75 million deal
If I can't fault Colorado for spending $2.25 million a year for a reliever than I guess I can't fault the Royals for spending $4.5 a year. I am not sure how much I trust Kyle Farnsworth though. Yankees fans were not too happy with him and he posted a 6.00 ERA in what amounted to garbage time in Detroit. The Royals seemed to have been using their bullpen pieces with reckless abandon to get hitting help this off-season. And the signing of Farnsworth represents an attempt to get some bullpen back help. In the end, if you are really paying 2 years and $8.75 million to get Coco Crisp and Mike Jacobs, then I can spin that as a pretty good deal. They still need one more pitcher to be competitive this year (and they CAN compete this year if the young guys continue to mature and the AL Central stays weak).
Philadelphia signs SP Jamie Moyer to 2 year, $13 million deal
What's surprising about this deal isn't the fact that a 46-year-old was given 2 years and $13 million, it's the fact that a 46-year-old was given 2 years and $13 million and there is not a single baseball fan, enthusiast or analyst out there in the blogosphere who thinks its a bad deal. Jamie Moyer is 46 and now will be pitching until he is 48 and I, for one, am not going to raise a stink. Jamie Moyer is just one of those freak athletes who seems to get better as he gets older. When you look at his stats from last year there is nothing that jumps out at you. His strikeout to walk ratio is almost exactly 2 to 1, about as good as you can expect from a pitch-to-contact finesse pitcher and while his 20 homers allowed seems high, there were more than 50 pitchers in the MLB who gave up more (including Cole Hamles and Johan Santana). Jamie Moyer is an excellent #3 starter who we know can pitch for a World Series team and is well worth the $13 milion he is being paid. Plus, the Phillies just bought some karma from the baseball gods for signing a Hometown Hero.
Kansas City signs SP Horacio Ramirez to 1 year, $1.8 million deal
This isn't the kind of starting pitching help that Royals' fans were hoping for but it is a start. Ramirez actually posted a couple of good seasons for the Braves but fell off significantly for the Mariners. If he gets some good coaching from Bob McClure and the Royals start to gel and play well, he may have a good season in him yet. After all, at 29 and only a few years Major League's service it is not like the book is closed on Horacio Ramirez just yet.
Philadelphia signs RP Chan Ho Park to 1 year, $2.5 million deal
It seems as though Chan Ho Park has been around since the dawn of baseball. But Philadelphia seems to be in an ancient-pitcher-signing mood. Much like Moyer, Park had quite an effective season out of the 'pen last year for the Dodgers. He went 4-4 with a 3.40 ERA and was 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA as a starter. The Phillies seem to be banking on the fact that Park can be a starter since they are already stacked in the bullpen (Seriously look up the stats of their bullpen, take one guy out of it and they don't win the World Series). He Park succeeds as a starter than that $2.5 million is an absolute bargain but I don't really know if he will find very many innings in the bullpen.
(NL) signs OF Joey Gathright to 1 year, $.8 million deal
Obviously, this is not a deal that is going to bring the Cubs home the World Series but do not underestimate its importance. Joey Gathright does one thing very well: run. And that can help a National League team that has the flexibility to carry 5 bench players. Is $800,000 too much for a left-handed pinch runner and 4th outfielder? Not when your outfield consists of two 32-year-old righties and a 31-year-old lefty who was completely worthless during the second half of the year.
Los Angeles (NL) signs SS Rafael Furcal to 3 year, $33 million deal
Rafael Furcal and his agents get the Douce Bag of the Winter award by leading the Braves to believe that they had a three year deal, then signing with the Dodgers just hours later. I was getting excited for Rafael Furcal's return to the team that raised him, imagining a move of Furcal to 2B and Kelly Johnson back to the OF. But apparently, Furcal was plently happy in L.A and was just looking for leverage for more money from the Dodgers. My question is: why try to dupe other teams into thining you wanted money when you really just wanted to stay in Hollywood. In the end, Raffy did not get the Dodgers to give him an exorbitant amount of money. The A's and the Braves were willing to give him much more. But instead of just re-signing after the season, Furcal and his agents decided to piss off two teams, one of which that now refuses to do any more business with these agents' clients for as long as they may live. Just not a smart or classy move. The Dodgers, however should be happy. They got their man and at a premium price. Unfortunately, the 3-year deal may spell and end for SS prospect Chin-Hu Lung's time in Los Angeles. And it is not like they can get anything for him because teams know the Dodgers HAVE to trade him or let him rot in AAA for three years.
Detroit signs C Matt Treanor to 1 year, $.750 million deal
Well, 24-year-old Catcher, Dusty Ryan, it looks like you are spending at least another year at AAA Toledo. I don't really understand this move. Detroit already had its #1 Catcher in Gerald Laird and their #2 with Ryan and a #3 in Inge if you need him. Maybe they wanted Ryan to get more seasoning in AAA since Laird is definitely the guy this year. And maybe Treanor had a good relationship with Dontrelle Willis back in Florida and can be his Catcher this year. If D-Train improves this year, throwing the ball to Treanor exclusively then that $750,000 is money well spent.
That is it for this week. Come back next week when I rank the top ten players in baseball at each position.