I’m writing next week’s blog in advance since I can feel the anger coming after the O’s fail to sign Teixeira. Keep in mind that if you listen to me on Sunday’s you are well aware that I am not an Oriole apologist and I have disagreed with many things they have done in the past, but since Andy MacPhail has come aboard they have had a plan. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your stance, Mark Teixeira does not fit into that plan.
MacPhail took over in June of 2007 and it became obvious that after years of trying to piece together teams with free agents, the Orioles would change direction and focus on building a foundation from the ground up. This meant investing money in player development, having a presence in the Pacific Rim, improving scouting in Latin America and dealing away veterans in order to acquire younger talent.
Here we are 18 months later in the midst of this overhaul that realistically will take 4-5 years and people are upset that Teixeira is not an Oriole. Does signing a player to a monster contract fit into this plan at only month 18? No. There comes a time when the Orioles may look to do that but we are still a few years away. A free agent should be used to supplement your roster in order to push you over the top, not to “put fans in the seats” or “show people you are serious about winning.” Stick to the plan.
That being said, I can’t blame the O’s for at least making an offer. If you can get a player at a bit of a hometown discount then you have to examine that possibility. They made an offer which was initially a competitive offer, but then Teixeira’s number went way off the charts. It went to a level that the Orioles could not afford at this time. Taking on a contract at $20 million plus per season would serve as a huge risk for the franchise which could set back our franchise for years to come. You would be paying Tex $60 million for the first three years so that we can still finish below .500? Then we would hope that his production did not decline or he did not suffer a career hampering injury so that in years 4-8 of his deal he could hopefully help the club. Trading him toward the end of this contract would not be an option with this contract either. Remember when any team could have had Manny Ramirez when he was put on waivers after the 2003 season? No one wanted the contract regardless of his production.
Cut the O’s some slack on this one. Since, MacPhail has been around they have made good decisions and to not go overboard for Teixeira is one of those good decisions. We are years away from competing and it will take time, but we are on the right track. For now we will just have to live with a first baseman who hit 1 less homer, drove in 13 less runs, and hit .004 points less than Teixeira. Tex is not the solution to our problems and MacPhail knows it, take a deep breath and be patient.