Keeping up an unprecedented spending spree, the New York Yankees added Mark Teixeira to their collection of pricey free agents when they reached a preliminary agreement on a $180 million, 8-year contract with the first baseman.
Two people familiar with the negotiations disclosed yesterday's agreement, which is subject to a physical. They spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, because the deal was not yet final.
With Teixeira's deal, the Yankees have lavished $423.5 million on three new players, a figure dwarfing the economic might of the other 29 clubs. Just last Thursday, the Yankees completed agreements with two prized pitchers, giving CC Sabathia a $161 million, 7-year contract and A.J. Burnett an $82.5 million, 5-year deal.
"They have the revenue sources that most don't have, and they have a lot of money coming off the books this season," said Los Angeles Angels general manager Tony Reagins, who had hoped to retain Teixeira. "So if they're willing and able to spend, I'm pretty sure they've made some good investments."
General manager Brian Cashman met with Teixeira and his agent, Scott Boras, in the Washington area on Dec. 4 and impressed the player with models of the new $1.3 billion Yankee Stadium, according to one of the people familiar with the talks.
Early yesterday, after midnight New York time, Cashman received a telephone call from Boras saying that Teixeira's preference was to play for the Yankees, the person said. While the Boston Red Sox also pursued Teixeira, offering an 8-year deal worth about $170 million, New York is closer to the player's family in Maryland.
Boras came off his demand for a 10-year contract, the person said, and the deal was agreed to.
The Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals also made big offers to Teixeira, but they appear to have little chance of winning in the next few years. The Angels, who obtained Teixeira from Atlanta on July 29, pulled their 8-year offer last weekend.
The Yankees will hold the four largest contracts in baseball. Third baseman Alex Rodriguez has the sport's highest deal at $275 million over 10 years, and shortstop Derek Jeter is second at $189 million over 10 years.
Teixeira's agreement came just 1 day after the Yankees received a $26.9 million luxury tax bill for 2008, when their streak of 13 consecutive playoff appearances ended. But with the revenue from their new stadium, where tickets are priced at up to $2,500 per game, their appetite for free agents wasn't diminished.
The 28-year-old Teixeira is a switch-hitter who batted a combined .308 with 33 homers and 121 RBI for the Braves and Angels. He has reached 30 homers and 105 RBI in five consecutive seasons.
Teixeira gets a $5 million signing bonus, $20 million in each of the first two seasons, and $22.5 million in each of the final 6 years. He has a full no-trade clause.
* New York Mets third baseman David Wright will take the place of Alex Rodriguez as part of the U.S. team in the World Baseball Classic this spring. Rodriguez has decided to play for the Dominican Republic.
* Angels general manager Tony Reagins said the team is not interested in signing free-agent outfielder Manny Ramirez.