It is only a surprise that the Yankees wound up with Mark Teixeira in the end when viewed through the prism of the last few weeks. Unlike with CC Sabathia, New York general manager Brian Cashman lurked quietly in the weeds as the Angels, Nationals, Orioles and Red Sox bid for the first baseman.
Had you taken a straw poll of baseball insiders at the outset of the offseason, the Yankees very well may have been the favorites to land him.
So while the baseball operations people in Anaheim, Baltimore, Boston and Washington might be feeling stunned today, they can't be all that surprised that Teixeira is being fitted for pinstripes.
Things change quickly in baseball and now the hard-working folks who lost out on Teixeira will have to shift their focus to Plan B, whatever that may be. Before running down what each team will do now, let's state the obvious. Now is not the time to panic for any of these clubs.
Teixeira was a singular force in this free-agent class. There are certainly plenty of bats available that can roughly replicate his offensive production, but there is no complete package like him on the market -- splurging for one of the pretenders out there (Adam Dunn, Pat Burrell, even Manny Ramirez) won't solve the problem that losing out on Tex created.
Even though they pulled out of the running days ago, the Halos are the team hurt the most by this development. For the two-plus months they had Teixeira last season, their lineup had a patient and powerful hitter. Now that threat is gone. Manny Ramirez is the one player who could approximate that threat offensively, and the Angels could slot him in at designated hitter, but they've said they won't enter the bidding.
If they won't enter the fray on Ramirez, it seems unlikely that they'll be in on Adam Dunn or Pat Burrell either, leaving pitching the only area where they can conceivably improve. Closer Brian Fuentes could come cheap and be a boon to one of the better bullpens in baseball and you have to figure they'll at least kick the tires on San Diego ace Jake Peavy.Nationals
Washington's interest in Teixeira never really made sense except as a public relations stunt in a city that has already begun to sour on the club just four years after it arrived from Montreal. Simply put, a mega-deal for Teixeira would have done nothing to change the fortunes of the team in the short-term and his prime years would likely be finished by the time the team could contend.
GM Jim Bowden seems intent on improving the club further offensively, so Dunn could quickly become the Nats' top target. There is also an outside chance that they could pursue Ramirez. But mostly, the Nationals have shown to their fans -- what few of them that are left -- that they aren't afraid to spend money to improve the club, even if they ultimately lost out on Teixeira. Now they can go out and invest the money where it should be for a club that is rebuilding -- on draft picks and international signings.Orioles
Baltimore is close to contention -- a year or two off -- and Teixeira could have really helped them get closer, but the Orioles weren't really a serious factor in the bidding over the last few weeks anyway and offense isn't really their problem anyway.
Andy MacPhail can now stick to the plan he's had in place since he took over in the Charm City, devoting his resources to nurturing a rapidly improving farm system and improving a pitching staff which was one of the worst in the majors last year. Ben Sheets? Derek Lowe? Baltimore can get a very good starter for the top of its rotation at a fraction of the price of Teixeira.Red Sox
If nothing else, Boston has to be relieved that the Teixeira sweepstakes have finally concluded. While the Red Sox certainly aren't happy that he'll be playing in the Bronx, they can now move on to, frankly, more important things. Teixeira was never a necessity -- Mike Lowell and Kevin Youkilis are still on the roster -- but the team does need to address its catching situation.
The Red Sox have shed a ton of payroll this winter -- at least $40 million -- so you have to wonder if they'll look to improve in other areas and jump in on Derek Lowe or Ben Sheets now. At minimum, they'll work on contract extensions for Youkilis and Jon Lester.
The Yankees have improved dramatically this winter, but let's not forget that a bruised, battered version of this Boston team was one win away from the World Series in October. The Sox have been beaten by the Yankees in free agency on numerous occasions this decade, but everyone knows who has had more success on the diamond over the last couple of years.
One final note, it's time to officially put to bed the notion that the Red Sox and Yankees are in the same class financially. It's the Yankees and everyone else when it comes to money at least, a lesson Boston has learned once again this winter.
What Now for Teams That Lost Out in Mark Teixeira Sweepstakes? originally appeared on MLB FanHouse on Tue, 23 Dec 2008 19:30:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.