Free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira is expected to make a decision on his new team in the very near future, potentially even in the next 24-to-48 hours. In the meantime, we're all stuck devouring the latest scraps from the rumor mill.
On Tuesday, I wrote that Teixeira should choose the Orioles. Now, according to ESPN's Buster Olney, Baltimore has essentially dropped out of the bidding, by refusing to upgrade its initial seven-year offer.
"The Orioles are out of it, unless Teixeira really, really wants to play there," said one source.
It's not all that surprising that the O's are falling behind in the chase for Teixeira. They can't offer him the chance to be on a winner, at least right away, they don't have the financial resources that the Red Sox, Angels or Yankees do and they aren't a Tom Hicks-esque wild card in the bidding like the Nationals appear to be.
On the flip side of things, the Red Sox appear to have moved to the front of the line for Teixeira's services. A general manager of one of the five teams involved in the bidding told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe as much.
"I think they're in the lead and ahead of where everyone else is right now," the GM said. "I'm not sure who's bidding against them at this point."
Asked whether he thought the talks would end soon, he said, "You just never know where Scott Boras and the Red Sox are involved."
By design, Boston has been the quietest of all the teams in on Teixeira. While there's a fairly concrete idea of what the Nationals, Orioles and Angels have offered the slugger, we can only speculate with the Red Sox.
Their offer is rumored to be the largest in team history, which would push it past $160 million, the total value of Manny Ramirez's contract with Boston, but owner John Henry told the Boston Herald Wednesday morning that he wouldn't give the first baseman a 10-year deal.
Either way, the Red Sox are clearly going way out of their way to try and secure Teixeira. Despite their status as a big-market club, the current regime in Boston has only rarely doled out contracts longer than four or five years and worth more than $50 million. It will also have to move either Kevin Youkilis, Mike Lowell or David Ortiz to accomodate Teixeira in the event that he signed.
Tex is going to have to be pretty special for the Red Sox to justify doing all of that.