(Editor's Note: This article was written before Teixeira agreed to terms late Tuesday night with the New York Yankees. Please read AtHomePlate.com's analysis here)
Nationals Need Face of the Franchise
By Jonathan LeshanskiÂ
The question isnâ€™t if the Nationals should sign Mark Teixeira. It is if Teixeira would be willing to sign with the Nationals.
The Nationals are a franchise badly in need of an identity and having even a single recognizable superstar would give them a hint of credibility which they havenâ€™t had since Vladimir Guerrero played for the team back in Montreal.Â Â More importantly theyâ€™d send a message to the fans in Washington and Northern Virginia that this franchise isnâ€™t a National League version of the eternally inept Baltimore Orioles who have wallowed in mediocrity, and fourth place, seemingly since 1969.Â
No, signing Teixeira to a long-term deal would tell the fans that this is a franchise planning on being a contender somewhere down the road, and not too far down that road, due to the investment theyâ€™d be making.Â Â This move wouldnâ€™t be one saying, weâ€™re going to win now, or even next year -- the Nationals have too far to climb to reach the top of the heap quickly -- but Teixeira is the kind of players whoâ€™ll excite the fans and bring people out to the ballpark and invite speculation about what the organization will do next.Â
As important as the message it would send to fans would be the message it sends to other players looking for a job and to the agents representing them.Â It would tell them that this is a team looking to improve and move up. And having a star on the team would make it easier for the franchise to sign other quality players, especially as the team gets better increment after increment.Â
No, the question isnâ€™t if the Nationals should sign Mark Teixeira but if they can afford him and convince him to come be the face of the franchise in Washington.
Teixeira Money Should be Spent Elsewhere
By Adam Adkins
During the entire Mark Teixeira derby, one prevailing rumor has irked me.Â
The Nationals want to give Teixeira an eight-year deal.Â The Nationals want to pay a player north of 20 million dollars a year.
Wh-what?Â At first, I was astounded.Â This is certainly not the actions of a team that needs to be rebuilt -- nay, not re-built, just built.Â They have no building to tear down. They need to lay a foundation first.Â Ryan Zimmerman is a good start, and theoretically a player as talented and reliable as Teixeira would fit nicely, but not for that much on this team.
The only viable reason I can think for the Nats to sign Teixeira is they want to sell tickets.Â Theyâ€™ve got a hot-damn-gorgeous ballpark and about two-thirds of it is empty most times.Â Thing is, even if Teixeira adds, say, nine wins to them (possible), that makes them no better than around 75 wins.Â Who the heck cares about a 75 win team?Â Lots of people do, but not for the coin it takes to go to a ballgame.Â Nuh-uh.Â No way.Â Mark Teixeira is not a media darling or a put-a-behind-every-eighteen-inches kind of star.Â
For the Nationals, they should not be thinking of themselves as contenders.Â Not for at least two years, and thatâ€™s only if everything goes right.Â That 22ish million they are offering to Teixeira is better off spent on signing their two top ten draft choices next year.Â THAT is where their money should be.
But Iâ€™m sure it wonâ€™t be.Â The Nats are much more interested in making money.Â But hereâ€™s the thing that separates big money making machines like the Yankees and Red Sox from mere normal money making machines like the Reds and Nationals; the Yanks and Sox realize that in order to really rake it in, you gotta spend and develop a winner.Â Fans will spend money like itâ€™s going out of style for a winner.Â Theyâ€™ll buy more tickets, more jerseys, more foam fingers, more everything, as long as the team is a contender.Â But for a no-chance-in-heck sort of team like Washington?Â Why waste the money?Â Iâ€™ve got gas to buy and food to put on my table.
There is risk involved with the trying to win aspect.Â What if you do put in lots of money and the team sucks anyway?Â What if the draft choices crap out?Â What if your big-ticket signings flame out?Â Thatâ€™s wasted money.Â Owners like Bob Castellini (Reds) and Ted Lerner (Nats) arenâ€™t about to risk the guaranteed gargantuan profit that a mediocre-to-crappy team will produce for the chance to have essentially limitless revenue.Â I think Iâ€™d take that risk, but I donâ€™t have multiples of millions, so I cannot say.
To sum up, signing Teixiera is a very bad idea for the Nationals.Â He wonâ€™t do enough -- heck, add Manny Ramirez too and they still arenâ€™t good enough -- to make them a contender.Â He isnâ€™t a major ticket seller either.Â That money is needed for their draft this year, where they should absolutely draft the best two available players, taking into account injury concerns.
But, I bet you they wonâ€™t.Â Watch: If the Nats draft some lame (and therefore cheaper) players, itâ€™ll prove that just like the Reds and Pirates, winning is just not important.