Former Baltimore Sun baseball writer Buster Olney is reporting on ESPN.com that the Orioles are not in the same ballpark as the other teams bidding for free agent Mark Teixeira, and -- according to sources -- are hoping he accepts their standing offer because he wants to play for his hometown team.
This is no great shock. Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said at the outset that the Orioles would be interested in certain big-money players because they might have a "geographical advantage," which is another way of saying they would make a play for Teixeira and A.J. Burnett (who has since signed with the Yankees) but would not be likely to sign them without a hometown discount.
The O's have made a legitimate long-term offer, believed to be for seven years at somewhere between $140 million and $150 million. The other bidders -- the Angels, Nationals and Red Sox -- are thought to be offering at least an eighth year, but no exact money figures have been confirmed.
Orioles officials indicated last week that they were willing to sit on their offer and not bid up the price, though MacPhail did not rule out making another proposal later in the process. This probably won't sit well with O's fans, but I don't think anybody believed the Orioles were likely to outbid the Red Sox and Angels. Teixeira will have to really want to play for the Orioles for this to work out.
Minor league note: Catcher Guillermo Quiroz has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Norfolk, so he will remain in the organization. His decision probably won't have a major impact on the team's attempt to sign one more veteran catcher.