The New York Yankees swooped in Tuesday and nabbed prized free agent Mark Teixeira, reaching agreement with the first baseman on an eight-year contract worth $180 million, two sources involved in the negotiations tell ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.
The Yankees had made an offer to Teixeira weeks ago, but then withdrew it. Their intention all along was to make a deal if it fell within parameters acceptable to the organization. They made their formal offer Tuesday.
The contract will pay Teixeira an average of $22.5 million per season.
The Yankees had $88.5 million coming off the books that, even with the Teixeira contract, they expect their payroll to fall below $200 million. New York has committed $423.5 million in salary in the last month, with $161 million going to left-handed pitcher CC Sabathia ($23 million over seven years) and $82.5 million on right-hander A.J. Burnett ($185 million over five).
Agreeing to a deal with Teixeira virtually eliminates any chance that free-agent outfielder Manny Ramirez has a landing place with the Yankees. New York does have money left to add another starting pitcher, most likely veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte at $10 million if he agrees to terms soon.
Teixeira's salary gives the Yankees, who are preparing to move into their pricey new ballpark in 2009, the four highest-paid players in Major League Baseball, including third baseman Alex Rodriguez, shortstop Derek Jeter and Sabathia.