The Washington Nationals are terrible. The team has finished in the NL East cellar in three of the last four seasons and the Nats lost 102 games this season. Also, they never seemed to have to much of a direction. Ownership seemed reluctant to spend money on big time free agents as GM Jim Bowden stuck with signing aging veterans and AAAA players. It is no surprise that the Nationals have struggled.
So why in the hell would a big time free agent want to come to Washington? Good question.
For most, the answer would be, "there is no reason, go elsewhere," but Mark Teixeira is a different kind of free agent. Teixeira, only 28, is a franchise player entering the prime of his career. He has hit at least 30 homers with at least 100 RBI in each of the past five seasons. Also, Teixeira is a fantastic defensive player, who has won two gold gloves already in his short career. The accolades for Teixeira are endless; this guy is a stud.
Given his stature, age, and potential, Teixiera should be in line for a huge contract. Somewhere in the 8-10 year/$160-$200 million dollars has been discussed. Big market teams like the Angels, Yankees, and Red Sox have been chomping at the bit to get their hands on Teixiera, who is about as clean cut and marketable as they come. He could go to either place and probably win multiple division titles and perhaps even a few world championships or MVPs. Winning is the ultimate goal and if you want to win consistently, Anaheim (Los Angeles!), Boston, and New York are the places most should go.
But as I said before, Mark Teixeira is different. He has a unique opportunity to develop something big with the Washington Nationals. As a franchise player, Teixeira has the power to change everything about baseball in DC. Think about it: there is no buzz in DC about the Nationals right now, signing Teixeira would change all of that. It would signal to the rest of the league that Washington is going to be a competitive ball club and that the rest of the NL East better watch out for the Nats in the years to come.
For Teixeira, a Maryland native, he has the opportunity to be the man. He has the unique opportunity to revive baseball in Washington area and change the entire culture for this struggling franchise. He would be the guy that the fans come to see, the players look up too, and that free agents want to talk with. All of a sudden, DC doesn't look so bad because the lowly Nationals would have a big player to build around for the next decade. That's something Washington(ians) can get excited about.
And people want good baseball in DC. I know it because I go to school here (American University). If the Nationals were any good, they would have no problem selling out Nationals Park. The fans want good baseball and they want a winner. Teixeira could be the beginning of all that and the fans would fully embrace him for that, more than they ever could in Boston or Anaheim. Winning is embedded in the culture there while there is no history of winning for the Nationals. This place would explode for a winner.
Sure it would take some time for the Nationals to turn things fully around because hey, Rome wasn't built in a day. But if Mark Teixiera wants to become a legend and be remembered forever, he will sign with the Washington Nationals. This is the only opportunity for Teixeira to be truely remembered as the man instead of just another high priced all-star with the Yankees, Angels, or Red Sox. Those teams are littered with expensive players and established stars, while Washington is led by Ryan Zimmerman and Lastings Milledge. Not exactly comparable.
Washington D.C is the untapped goldmine of professional baseball right now. The place is ready to explode for a winner and throw itself at a major star. Signing with the Nationals is undoubtedly a risk and highly unconventional, but the opportunity is oozing with potential. This is your chance to start something big.
So sign on the dotted line Mark Teixeira, your once in a lifetime chance to be the man awaits you.
NL Notes: Nationals, Escobar, Holliday, Lopez
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