The Atlanta Braves website Q&A includes a question on the possibility of re-signing Mark Teixeira:
-- Robyn R., Phoenix, Ariz.
Just to clarify Teixeira's situation, the Braves acquired him at this year's trade deadline, knowing that he'd play with them at least through the end of the 2008 season.
It might be too early to project the Braves' chances of re-signing Teixeira. But it's certainly not too early to assume that his agent, Scott Boras, is anxiously awaiting the opportunity to place him on the free-agent market, with the tag of being the game's most complete first baseman.
Like St. Louis' Albert Pujols, Teixeira has proven to be one of those unique players who can hit over .300 with 40-plus homers and 130-plus RBIs. But, when compared to Pujols, Ryan Howard and some of the other game's top first basemen, Teixeira definitely gets the nod from a defensive perspective.
With this in mind, Teixeira's price tag will be high and possibly reach that stratosphere where only organizations like the Yankees and Red Sox can compete. The Yankees will likely be erasing Jason Giambi's $20 million-plus salary from their payroll at the end of next season. There is a $5 million buyout clause in his contract for the 2009 season.
With next season also being the last one that Mike Hampton's hefty contract will appear on the Atlanta payroll, the Braves may have some room to compete for Teixeira's services. But Boras has already made it known that they'll have to end their practice of not granting no-trade clauses.
Some of you have asked if Frank Wren's move in the general manager's role will change the Braves' stance on granting no-trade clauses. While that remains to be seen, let's not forget that John Schuerholz is still his boss and Schuerholz has always held a firm stance against providing these clauses.
The fact that Teixeira has already mentioned the no-trade clause to some of his teammates should provide some concern to those who are hoping that his stay in Atlanta is longer than one season and two months.
While I'm certainly not ready to just assume Teixeira will be playing elsewhere beginning in 2009, it's certainly already apparent that keeping him in Atlanta will prove both expensive and difficult.
You know, I am a big Teixeira fan. But saying that "Teixeira has proven to be one of those unique players who can hit over .300 with 40-plus homers and 130-plus RBIs" glosses over the fact that he's hit .300 twice in his 5 year career, and cracked the 40 homer and 130 RBI marks one time apiece.
Teixeira's ranking, in VORP, among major league first basemen during his career:
2007 -- 15th
2006 -- 7th
2005 -- 4th
2004 -- 6th
2003 -- 20th
Obviously, Teixeira slipped in 2007 because of the time missed to injury. But nevertheless, he's consistently slotted around the cusp between very good and great, although he seems to have a reputation that is a little better than his actual performance.