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why-i-think-the-braves-have-a-shot-at-re-signing-teixeira | February | 2008 Articles

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Why I think the Braves have a shot at re-signing Teixeira

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This is from a comment I just posted on the previous thread, but I think it's really a conversation of its own. As we all know, the Braves' most important payroll decision this year is what to do with Mark Teixeira, soon to be our most expensive player, and arguably already our best hitter. We have no obvious organizational replacement for him, and considering the mammoth haul of prospects we gave up to get him -- including Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus, who have continued to zoom up top prospect lists -- not signing him would be, basically, disastrous. But I think we've got a good shot, and that's not taking into consideration the possibility that Tex might offer us a discount to play in the city where he went to college. Here's why. Let’s look at the top 10 teams in payroll at the end of 2007: NYY, BOS, LAD, NYM, CHC, SEA, LAA, PHI, SF, and CHW. The BoSox aren’t going to be interested; they have Kevin Youkilis. The Dodgers have James Loney, the Cubs have Derrek Lee, the Angels have Casey Kotchman, the Phillies have Ryan Howard, and the White Sox have Paul Konerko. The Yankees will be losing Jason Giambi, the Mets will be losing Delgado, the Mariners will be losing Sexson, and the Giants are filling 1B with baling wire and Rich Aurilia. Giambi and Sexson have been two of the bigger free agent busts in recent memory, and after an awful 2007, Delgado looks poised to stink up the last year of his rich contract; all three serve as cautionary tales for what happens when you sign a slugging first baseman to a rich free agent deal. And, of course, the Giants have signed one of the other biggest free agent busts in recent memory, Barry Zito, who is a huge red Do Not Enter sign for why it’s almost always a bad idea to sign a Scott Boras client to a 7-year contract: you will undoubtedly overpay, and within the first few years of the deal, you will wish you had that money back. The Orioles are expected to make a strong run at Tex, because he’s from Maryland, but it’s hard to imagine they’ll be serious contenders; Peter Angelos has never gotten over the Albert Belle fiasco, and the team has not been a real player in the free agent market in almost a decade. (Note: as Will pointed out to me after I posted this, they did make a huge splash with the Tejada signing, which I'd stupidly forgotten. Of course, considering they just unloaded him this offseason for spare parts from the Astros, it's clear they wish they could forget it too.) Of course, as long as the rich teams have revenue streams, they’ll be able to make themselves forget how badly they’ve been burned in the past, and they’ll present a serious impediment to the Braves’ ability to resign Tex. However, I’m pretty sure they’ll all have one nagging doubt or another about the wisdom of signing another Scott Boras client to a $200 million deal, and that may give the Braves a window of opportunity.

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