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News » Angels will avoid long negotiations for Teixeira 2008-11-06

Angels will avoid long negotiations for Teixeira 2008-11-06

Angels will avoid long negotiations for Teixeira 2008-11-06
DANA POINT, Calif. - At what point do the Angels tell Scott Boras to shove it?

OK, that's putting it indelicately, but the Angels' history is to strike quickly in the free-agent market — and Boras, when it comes to cutting deals, isn't exactly Mr. November.

So, as much as the Angels want to retain first baseman Mark Teixeira, they will not engage in protracted negotiations with Boras.

The Dodgers, while generally less decisive, could adopt a similar take-it-or-leave it approach with Boras' other big slugger, left fielder Manny Ramirez.

In the end, the strategy for both Los Angeles teams could be to avoid Boras and bid hard for left-hander CC Sabathia, perhaps the biggest free-agent prize of all.

"In any situation, you get to a point where you have to make a decision and move the business forward," Angels GM Tony Reagins said. "In any negotiation, there always comes that point where you have to say, you're in or you're out."

The Angels will be "in" on Teixeria until at least next Thursday, the last day for teams to negotiate exclusively with their own free agents. After that, the team might go in a completely different direction.

Signing Sabathia would be one option, retaining closer Francisco Rodriguez another. The Angels also could trade for Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins or left fielder Matt Holliday.

The team's history is instructive: In 2005, the Angels waited and waited for first baseman Paul Konerko, only to lose him to the White Sox on Nov. 30. The delayed response by Konerko compromised the Angels' offseason, and they haven't made the same mistake since.

Boras, though, plays at his own speed; virtually every one of his major signings in recent years has occurred at the winter meetings in December or later. Barry Zito signed with the Giants after Christmas in 2006. Carlos Beltran signed with the Mets in January 2005.

Teams routinely complain about Boras' tactics, but almost all agents discourage their clients from signing during the exclusivity period, when the players are only days away from the open market. Even after that, there is no rush. As days pass, demand often builds.

Boras contends that teams frequently take a wrongheaded view with franchise players such as Teixeira and Ramirez, talking not about how they add revenue, but how they subtract from available payroll.

Consider Boras' take on Ramirez:

"We've got an exact model," Boras said. "We've seen the player in the market produce 5, 6, 7 million dollars a month for the franchise. That's additional revenue to their team. Certainly that's a rare player. And his impact obviously can be measured as well by the millions more they made in the postseason."

Teixeira, 28, isn't the same type of attraction, but he's eight years younger, far better defensively and a more consistent personality. If the Angels pass on him, the Red Sox, Yankees and other clubs almost certainly will jump. The issue for the Angels is not the player; it's the pace of the negotiations.

As Dodgers GM Ned Colletti put it, "You can't let one player stand in the way of everything else you do." Boras, though, says he is perfectly willing for his clients to sign quickly — provided that teams bid appropriately.

"A lot of it depends upon how quickly you get the information the player wants to hear," Boras said. "Sometimes the player wants to meet personally with teams. Sometimes he's very happy with where he is. If clubs come forward and meet what the needs are, it can move forward and operate pretty fluidly and quickly."

It had better move quickly with Teixeira, or the Angels will be gone.

The Burnett sweepstakes

Here's a worst-case scenario for the Yankees: Sabathia signs with the Angels or Dodgers, and right-hander A.J. Burnett takes less money to stay with the Blue Jays.

Could happen.

The only surprise about Burnett's decision to become a free agent is that the Jays are still heavily in the mix to sign him.

Burnett is close with the Jays' training staff, pitching coach Brad Arnsberg and staff ace Roy Halladay. His mercurial personality would not necessarily be a good fit for New York or Boston, and he again would need time to adjust to a new environment and increased expectations.

"I think we have a shot," Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi said.

The Orioles' problem

The Orioles are intent on making serious offers for Burnett as well as Teixeira. They possess geographic advantages with both players — Burnett lives in Monkton, Md., and Teixeira is from the Baltimore area — and they do not plan to irritate their restless fan base with token bids.

Still, it would be a major upset if the Orioles landed either player.

Owner Peter Angelos is a stickler on medical issues, and Burnett's injury history likely will discourage him from offering a long enough contract. Teixeira almost certainly will go beyond the Orioles' price range and perhaps land with one of their division rivals, the Yankees or Red Sox.

Andy MacPhail, the Orioles' president of baseball operations, is intent on acquiring veteran starting pitchers to protect the team's young arms, but the enormity of his challenge in the ultra-competitive AL East is almost overwhelming.

When the Orioles tried to sign right-hander Sergio Mitre, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, they were significantly outbid by the Yankees.

Dodger shuffle

The Dodgers remain a good bet to re-sign free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal, who is a favorite of Colletti and manager Joe Torre.

The big question: Whether owner Frank McCourt will risk big money on Furcal after getting burned on several previous long-term contracts.

Furcal underwent back surgery last season before returning for the playoffs.

The more immediate decision for the Dodgers is whether to exercise their $8.75 million option on right-hander Brad Penny. The Dodgers could trade Penny if they kept him, a scenario that Colletti said is "something we've talked about."


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Author:Fox Sports
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Added: November 6, 2008

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