This was his chance...MLB.com's Bill Ladson had a reader ask the question straight up in this week's edition of Mr. Ladson's, "Mailbag: How will the Nats use outfielders":
"Do the Nationals have a legitimate shot at landing Mark Teixeira or is it just talk?"
...and instead of saying, "No, the talk of Mark Teixeira signing in Washington is really just something the team is putting out there in a PR sort of way to appease the DC Faithful, but realistically, adding a $22- $27.5 million dollar contract to a team whose payroll last season was around $55 M is just unrealistic, and unworkable, like A-Rod on the Rangers..." Mr. Ladson responds:
"It's not just talk. The Nationals are trying hard to get Teixeira. He could solve some serious problems they went through last year. He is a switch-hitter and could provide the power from the left side they are looking for. He has also stayed healthy during most of his career."
(ed. note - "Now that last sentence just seems like an unnecessary dig at Nick Johnson, but I'm an NJ (Nick not New Jersey) fan, so I might just be reading into it...")
So Mr. Ladson really does think the Nationals are going to make a serious run at Mark Teixeira, "...who is believed to be seeking a deal of at least six seasons at about $20 million per year," according to MLB.com writer Lyle Spencer's Hot Stove Report article entitled, "Angels' focus remains on Teixeira", where Mr. Spencer then notes that Texeira's agent:
"...(Scott) Boras puts the 28-year-old slugger in the exclusive class of Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Ramirez as 'players who pay for themselves' through various revenues they generate."
(ed. note - "The following $ amounts acc. to baseball-reference.com...")
...Bonds' salary peaked at $22 million per in 2005. Alex Rodriguez played for $28 million last season, and had been anywhere from $21.6 to $26 million since he signed his big free agent deal with Texas back in 2001. Manny Ramirez's highest take was in 2004 when he played for $22.5, and he's on the market now, seeking the same kind of deal as Teixeira, even though Manny, at 36, is eight years older than Tex...so you can see where Mr.'s Boras and Teixeira are finding their industry standard.
The problem I see, however, which I alluded to above, is that neither the Rangers with A-Rod, nor the Giants with Bonds, were able to compete with those super-sized contracts on their payrolls, with Texas suffering under the weight of the deal for years before finally unburdening themselves of Rodriguez to the only team that could absorb the payroll blow in NY's Yankees, and San Francisco finally settling for having Bonds make history as a Giant while their team stalled in the standings. (ed. note - "Boston, much like NY is another story when it comes to payroll, so they were able to win with Manny...")
Texas' payroll when they first added A-Rod's $22 million dollar salary in 2001? $88 Million. San Francisco's with Bonds making $22 million in 2005? $76 million. The Rangers finished 73-89 in 2001. The Giants finished the '05 season at 75-87, and an injured Bonds collected $22 million for just 14 games played, after he injured his knee and underwent surgery. The Washington Nationals payroll last season, as noted earlier, was around $55 million in '08...add Teixeira's expected $20-$27.5 million and you can see where I'm going with these comparisons...
So that's the question? Does it make sense to sign Teixeira? More importantly... Would Teixeira want to sign with a team that won't reasonably be able to compete in the first few years of the six-year deal he's looking for? What would adding a salary like that do to the Nationals' payroll? Does Teixeira make a difference in a lineup that, otherwise unaltered, was only able to win 59 games last season? I'm glad I don't have to make these decisions...