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Baltimore Sun

Is Mark Teixeira worth $20 million or more per year?

I had an opportunity to talk to super agent Scott Boras Thursday as I was preparing a few free-agent stories. And, yes, we spoke about Mark Teixeira.

We'll get to him in a second.

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But I want to say this -- though I know it won't sit well with many of you. I enjoy talking to Boras. He's extremely smart, motivated and persuasive. It's not a mystery why he is so good at what he does.

As a sportswriter, Boras is among the most fascinating people I have met. Off the top of my head, the only ones that come close are Chuck Thompson and, drum roll please, Peter Angelos.

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My approval rating just dropped 30 points. (How many of you are going to hammer me for mentioning Chuck in the same category as Angelos and Boras? Ain't the beer warm, suddenly?)

I am not buddies with either attorney. And I'm not endorsing them or their philosophies. I am just saying they are both incredibly interesting men with informed, albeit unwavering, opinions. Interviewing them is like a game of chess. It can be simultaneously illuminating, fun and frustrating.

OK, I am now taking a spot under the bar, hiding behind a stool with Mike in Indiana who had the audacity to suggest in Thursday's talk that he believes Teixeira will be this free agent class' biggest bust.

Here's his logic: "(Tex) is going to get an A-Rod-in-Texas type contract for a bunch of money and a bunch of years. While he is a good hitter is he really going to make the difference? He didn't help Atlanta or the Angels in the last two years. I think that for the money he is going to get, his performance is not going to guarantee a championship (see also: Alex Rodriguez)."

After talking to Boras yesterday, I will tell you that Mike is right in one aspect. Teixeira is going to come close to the $252 million ARod got in 2000. He won't surpass it, but I bet he is not far from there.

Boras won't make predictions or offer any parameters, but in the way he is talking, it's easy to read between the lines. My sense is that Boras sees Teixeira as a $20 million-plus player, and he usually gets what he wants.

So here's my question: If you are the Orioles, do you pay the Holy Grail of Severna Park $20 million-plus a year for eight to 10 years to come home?

Think about this: If the Orioles would, he'd roughly make one-fourth of the club's entire payroll. Sure, he'd make this team better. But is it worth it at that expense? Boras contends that whatever Tex gets in salary the club will recoup that revenue in marketing, ticket sales and increased profile.

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"It's just good business to go after players that not only won't be a detriment to your payroll but will pay for themselves. Not many players can do that. He will," Boras said.

So should the Orioles pay for Tex, no matter how lopsided it makes their payroll?

Daily Think Special: If you owned the Orioles, would you give Mark Teixeira $20 million or more a year to play at home? In a baseball context, is he worth that price?


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