As a Red Sox fan, I've stated a few times in the past week my desire for Theo Epstein to sign Mark Teixeira. I would love to have a 28 year old switch hitter just entering his prime play first base for us. Having looked at this only from an "on paper" perspective, I've started looking at it from a few different points.
First point I'll get to is this. Why will this be Tex's 4th team in the last 3 years? Is it because he is, as some have suggested, a "clubhouse cancer"? If so, this really affects my view of this potential signing. Didn't we just get rid of one "cancer" (see: Ramirez, Manny)? Why would we bring in another? I have to assume that if Theo does sign Tex, that this has to be false because Epstein, being one of the better minds and young baseball people out there, would not replace one malcontent for another.
Next, how do we adjust our infield to accomodate another gold glove 1st baseman? Obviously, we'd have to make a move or two here. The obvious one is to move Kevin Youkilis back to 3rd base, where he played in the minors. Then we would have to move Mike Lowell, who we just re-signed last year, to another team. With his injury/ health concerns from this past season, we will most assuredly not get fair market value, but then what is fair value for a 34 year old 3rd baseman? If we do trade Mike, I'm also sure we'd have to eat some if not most of his salary.
Another aspect to this is what effect will it have on one of our top prospects? Lars Anderson is one of the top 1st base prospects in MLB, and he is potentially ready as soon as mid 2009. Now, he's only 20 years old (born Sept. 25/ 1987), so we could take our time with him and give him a full AA season followed by a full AAA season. Also, he'd be available to spell David Ortiz, as from what I could tell Big Papi seemed to be on his last legs this past season.
The last aspect I'd like to look at is this. With Teixeira being a Scott Boras client will we be more likely to overpay to bring Jason Varitek back, also a Boras client, to try to sway the agent like we did with the Daisuke Matsuzaka/ J.D. Drew sigings a couple of years ago? We do need a catcher, but I do not want to sign Tek to a contract longer than 2 years. Boras is looking for 4 years for Varitek, and reportedly also seeking Jorge Posada money. Posada is not worth the contract he signed, nor is Varitek. I would much rather try to get a younger catcher to replace Varitek (Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ronny Paulino, and I read that the Dodgers may be shopping Russell Martin, but they are denying that). A few here on CBS Sports have suggested that the Sox may both sign Varitek and trade for a young catcher, who Tek could then mentor for the next couple of seasons. Not a bad idea, but not likely.
Still, even with all these questions, I drool at the tought of having an averyday line-up that would look something like this:
1. Jacoby Ellsbury CF
2. Dustin Pedroia 2B
3. David Ortiz DH
4. Mark Teixeira 1B
5. Jason Bay LF
6. Kevin Youkilis 3B
7. J.D. Drew RF
8. (insert catcher here)
9. Jed Lowrie SS
That looks like a championship caliber line-up to me, not to mention one that should stay together for a few years, as they are all young, save Papi.