NEWBERG REPORT PLUS: MAY 16, 2007
I’ve come to what feels like an inescapable conclusion, after years of heavy, blind, wishful denial, that Mark Teixeira won’t be a Texas Ranger a year from today.
It is with a great deal of sadness and reluctance that I now admit that to myself.
Too many of you have asked in the last 20 minutes for me to be able to respond to everyone, so here’s the explanation for my conclusion that a year from now, Mark Teixeira will no longer be a Texas Ranger:
1. He’s not going to sign long-term during the 2007 season. Why would he?
2. He’s not going to sign long-term this winter, a year short of free agency. Scott Boras clients don’t do that. Now, if this club plays .600 ball the rest of the way (which would still result in only 88 wins), maybe the Rangers can get Teixeira to sign if they offer him an above-market contract. But I don’t think Texas will do that this winter, and we all know the Union will pressure Teixeira to hang tight until the following winter, when he can shop himself to the big market clubs and reestablish a new level of slugger compensation.
3. So Texas would then go into the 2008 season with Teixeira in his contract year. Can the club afford to do that?
4. No. Because if he plays out the year as a Ranger, he probably signs with New York or Baltimore or Atlanta or Los Angeles or Los Angeles the next winter, and Texas only gets a late first-round draft pick and a selection between rounds one and two in return.
5. So just trade him during the 2008 season, you say? Can’t plan on that. Think about it: If Texas is 58-45 in the last week of July, a game back of the Angels, can you imagine the message it would send to the clubhouse and the fans if the club decided it needed to trade its most productive hitter? Would never happen. And to go into the 2008 season assuming that it would be impossible to be in a contending position in July is just not something Jon Daniels would ever do.
6. So unless the determination is made that you have to play spectacular baseball the rest of the way in 2007 and hope that it convinces Teixeira to want to negotiate this winter (unlikely), or else accept that you will have to overpay Teixeira for life to re-sign or else lose him for two late first-round picks, you have to move him before the 2008 season begins.
7. Does that mean this summer? Or this winter? Beats me. Teams may be more willing to give up a lot in July in order to have Teixeira for the stretch run this year plus a full season in 2008. On the other hand, in the winter clubs are in a better position to give up the pieces it would take to get a player like that, assuming at least one of the players coming back is a key big league contributor right now.
And I didn’t say I knew when this would happen. I just think it happens before the 2008 season gets underway.