Young, Teixeira on same page
Rangers' sluggers concentrating on winning, not contracts
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers are ready and willing to talk to both Michael Young and Mark Teixeira about contract extensions that would keep them around beyond the 2008 season.Owner Tom Hicks has made it clear that it's a priority. But both showed up at camp on Wednesday not wanting their contract situations to be a distraction to themselves, their teammates or the Rangers. If the Rangers get anything done soon, especially with Young, both sides prefer it to be done quietly. "I'm leaving that in the hands of my agent," Young said. "My job is to focus on baseball. That's how I got into this situation in the first place." Young's contract situation has surfaced quicker. The Rangers approached his agent, Dan Lozano, in the offseason and talks have continued to the point where an offer has been made by the club. Teixeira and his agent, Scott Boras, appear willing to be patient and wait. Both Teixeira and Young can be free agents after 2008. "I don't think about it," Teixeira said. "My No. 1 goal is to play the 2007 season with the Rangers and win. There are too many good things going on with this team to be distracted by contract issues." Teixeira is in the second year of a two-year deal. He'll make $9 million this season and then be eligible for arbitration next season. Young is in the last year of a four-year, $10.5 million contract, and the Rangers have an option on him for 2008. Exercising the option is a foregone conclusion, but the Rangers want him around longer than that. Young and his agent are willing to listen but insist that any contract extension be based on market value. The Rangers have acknowledged discussions but aren't publicly commenting on the situation until it's resolved. "I haven't given it that much thought," Young said. "My optimism is focused on the season. My teammates don't want to hear about my contract or where I'm going to be in 2008 or 2009. They're here in 2007." Young and Teixeira also want to win, and both have yet to play in a postseason game. They have been together for four years, and they have had just one winning season in that time. They have never finished higher than third place. For Young, it's all about winning.
"We're ready," Teixeira said. "The talent is there. We have a lot of talented players, but talent doesn't win ballgames. Execution wins ballgames. We need to play well, get on a roll and win some games."Young and Teixeira are expected to lead the way. Manager Ron Washington made it clear when he met with both in the offseason that this is their team. "That means a lot to me, especially when it comes from somebody I have great respect for," Young said. "Anything he wants, I'll do. He'll get everything I have from the first day to the last." They are the stars. Young, a three-time All-Star, hit .314 last year with 14 home runs a career-high 103 RBIs. He had more than 200 hits for the fourth straight year and set a club record with 52 doubles. Teixeira, an All-Star in 2005, hit .282 with 33 home runs and 110 RBIs last year and scored 99 runs. The two will bat 3-4 in the lineup; they're 1-2 in the clubhouse. "Mike and I have played together for several years," Teixeira said. "We know what it takes, and we know what we want this team to be about: never give up, play hard and respect each other. This team is too talented to be bickering with each other or the front office bickering. We need to have fun and win."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.