As the Yankees’ 2016 regular season trickles down to its closing stages, Mark Teixeira will begin to place the finishing touches on an exceptional career.
Since joining New York on an eight-year, $180 million contract in 2009, the switch-hitting first baseman has demonstrated leadership and resilience, contributing 204 home runs and three Gold Gloves during his nine-year tenure in the Bronx.
But in the winter of 2008, Teixeira, who experienced his first and last offseason as a free agent, didn’t originally have his sights set on New York.
“Very close,” Teixeira said. “They came to Dallas. My agent (at the time, Scott Boras) and I met with their brass at the airport hotel. I thought we were there to finish the contract. It was an interesting conversation. My agent had to say, “Listen, guys, I thought you were going to beat everyone else. But you’re offering the same contract as everyone else. We’re not going to make a decision right now.”
“They were unhappy with that,” Teixeira continued. “I was at the meeting, but I was not involved with the negotiation at all. I sat there and listened. But I loved Tito (Terry Francona). I love Theo Epstein. I think Theo Epstein is a genius — look at what he’s doing with the Cubs. I thought it was going to be like ‘hey, let’s shake hands and hug it out at the end.’ At the time, I had three or four offers on the table that were almost exactly the same. (Boras) said, ‘Guys, we’re not going to sign this right now,’ so, we just kept negotiating with the other teams. And New York ended up on top.”
Over the course of nine years, Boston has experimented with 14 different first basemen, with the latest being veteran slugger Hanley Ramirez. But acquiring Teixeira in 2008 would have reshaped the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, if only Boston maximized its offer.