Boston Red Sox owner John W. Henry came out of a meeting Thursday night with free agent Mark Teixeira and his agent, Scott Boras, all but declaring that Boston was out of the running for the switch-hitting first baseman.
“We met with Mr. Teixeira and were very much impressed with him,” Henry wrote in an e-mail. “After hearing about his other offers, however, it seems clear that we are not going to be a factor.”
It was a stunning turnabout after it appeared the Red Sox had become the leaders in the chase for the 28-year-old slugger. Henry, CEO Larry Lucchino and general manager Theo Epstein traveled to Dallas for the meeting.
The Red Sox had an eight-year offer on the table in excess of $160 million. Sources close to the negotiations said it was less than the $184 million reported by Boston WCVB sportscaster Mike Lynch, who first reported that the meeting would take place. Boras is seeking a 10-year, $200 million deal, but a Red Sox executive said earlier that would be “ridiculous.”
The Los Angeles Angels, Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals also have made offers to Teixeira, but to date none of those offers are believed to be for more than eight years. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman also met with Teixeira earlier this month, but that was before the Yankees committed more than $240 million to sign pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, so it appears unlikely they would make a grab for Teixeira as well.
Boras also represents free-agent catcher Jason Varitek, the Red Sox captain who declined an offer of salary arbitration from the team. Boston has not made another offer to Varitek since, though the sides continue to talk. A third Boras client, free-agent pitcher Derek Lowe, also is of interest to the Red Sox, but they have not made him an offer and are expected to do so only if he drops his price. Lowe is believed to be seeking a five-year deal in the $75 million range.
Teixeira, who turns 29 on April 11, has averaged more than 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in his six big-league seasons, while posting a .919 OPS and playing Gold Glove-caliber defense. The Red Sox envision him as a middle-of-the-lineup presence to offset last July’s departure of Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers. If Teixeira signs with the Red Sox, they would move All-Star Kevin Youkilis from first to third base while looking to trade third baseman Mike Lowell, the 2007 World Series MVP.