Multimillion-dollar negotiations involving the professional baseball futures of Severna Park neighbors Mark Teixeira and Gavin Floyd appear to be going to the wire.
Teixeira, selected as the fifth pick of the first round in the June draft by the Texas Rangers, and Floyd, taken fourth by the Philadelphia Phillies, both have the leverage of attending college instead of signing. Both Mount St. Joseph graduates have scholarships waiting - Teixeira as a senior at Georgia Tech and Floyd as a freshman at South Carolina.
Unlike previous years, few pre-arranged deals were made by major-league clubs that would have had most of the elite under contract by now. The deadlines for the Rangers and Phillies are the dates classes start, Aug. 20 at Georgia Tech and Aug. 23 at South Carolina.
Negotiations for both players are expected to heighten the week of Aug. 12.
The word in baseball circles and in published reports is that adviser Scott Boras is seeking a record $10 million to $12 million over four years for Teixeira, a switch-hitting third baseman. Sources said Baltimore's Ron Shapiro is seeking at least $5 million for Floyd, a hard-throwing right-hander, and the Phillies reportedly have offered about $3 million and been rejected.
"We're in a holding pattern right now," said Rob Holiday, a top assistant to Phillies scouting and player development director Mike Arbuckle.
Said Floyd, who has met face-to-face with Phillies officials twice, "I expect things to get really intense when I get back from vacation [Aug. 10-11] in North Carolina. Nothing's going to happen before then. They have made only one offer and we've done some talking back and forth."
Catcher Joe Mauer, the national high school player of the year in football and baseball, was the No. 1 pick, chosen by his hometown Minnesota Twins. Mauer recently signed for $5.15 million, giving up a football scholarship as a quarterback to Florida State, becoming the first of the top six selections in the baseball draft to come to terms.
Shapiro, who represented Mauer, has a reputation of settling amicably.
Boras doesn't. He sought $10 million to $11 million in 1997 for J.D. Drew, the Phillies' first-round pick, and a deal was never struck. Drew went back into the 1998 draft and signed a record four-year deal for $7.5 million with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Boras, who also negotiated the $252 million contract of Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez, is not one of the more popular advisers among major-league baseball owners. He is a persistent hard-liner.
Teixeira, The Sun's 1998 All-Metro Player of the Year, and Floyd, The Sun's Player of the Year in 2000 and 2001, have kept busy. Floyd says he is "stronger overall with a more coordinated body," after working out four hours a day the past three weeks at the Cal Ripken facility in Columbia.
Teixeira, who has been compared as a hitter to Drew and Pat Burrell, has been working out six hours a day in Atlanta. The Rangers flew Teixeira into the Lone Star State the weekend after the draft and gave him a physical and had him take batting practice.
Teixeira put on a power show from both sides of the plate, and passed his physical.
His right ankle that was broken in February and kept him out for much of the college season is healing well. "Mark had a great physical and their doctor said it would be a full year before his ankle has 100 percent strength, but there would be no problem," said John "Tex" Teixeira, Mark's father.`That was the only face-to-face meeting Mark has had with them."
Rangers scouting director Tim Hallgren said negotiations are "in the hands of GM Doug Melvin because we're talking major-league contract and money. We expect things to heat up in a week."
Hallgren said that the Rangers "definitely want" to sign Teixeira, but that they also "have a budget" and that Boras "has not actually given us a figure yet."
"We made an offer and Scott said we were not close," Hallgren said. "There is no figure etched in stone, but we have an idea they're looking for $10 million."
In Boras and his clients' favor is the fact that the Rangers recently unloaded some big-money contracts in Ken Caminiti and Andres Galarraga.