Boston will aggressively pursue Teixeira, two industry sources confirmed. While the Red Sox have a very good first baseman in Kevin Youkilis, they can move Youkilis to third to make room for Teixeira. Incumbent third baseman Mike Lowell is recovering from hip surgery and isn't expected to be ready until mid-March, and as much as the Red Sox like Lowell, they can look to trade him.Considering Lowell is only a season removed from winning World Series MVP, Teixeira might seem like a ridiculous excess for one of baseball's richest franchises.
But also consider these two factors:
- Ever since the Manny Ramirez trade, Boston's offense hasn't had quite the same punch. Kevin Youkilis, who will turn 30 during Spring Training next year, is the youngest Red Sox hitter at a corner position, and the organization hasn't developed an impact hitting prospect on the corners since Shea Hillenbrand. Lars Anderson, a 21-year-old first baseman who finished 2008 at Double-A Portland, could change all that, but Teixeira would infuse the Red Sox offense with both youth and power in the meantime. That's of paramount importance in the wake of the Rays' ascent to the top of AL East.
- With Ramirez's contract off the books as well as potentially Jason Varitek's and Curt Schilling's, Boston could free up close to $40 million in payroll this winter. Some of that money will go toward sorting out the catching situation. Some of it may go toward long-term deals for Dustin Pedroia and other Red Sox youngsters. But much of it could easily go to Teixeira without the Red Sox even feeling the financial difference.
The Red Sox have embraced cost-controlled talent in recent seasons and it shows, particularly on their pitching staff. But let's not forget that they're also a financial giant willing to flex their financial muscles for the right player. Mark Teixeira might be just that.