The Red Sox like to say they have their limits when it comes to negotiations. So in that sense, it's easy to believe owner John Henry's Thursday night that the Sox are now "not going to be a factor" for free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira.
But here's the problem with that: You didn't need to have too many conversations with Red Sox people this winter to understand that Teixeira was the one player they really wanted. For Boston, much more than for any other team involved with Teixeira, there was never really any second choice.
Let's say the Red Sox really do move on from chasing Teixeira. Well, what exactly do they move on to? Obviously not Manny Ramirez. And not another outfielder, either, because the Sox are committed to Jason Bay, Jacoby Ellsbury and J.D. Drew, with David Ortiz as the designated hitter.
Derek Lowe? Maybe, but once again, it didn't take many talks with Boston officials to know that adding a starting pitcher didn't really excite them. The Red Sox already have Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester and Tim Wakefield atop their rotation, with Justin Masterson and Clay Buchholz ready to step in.
What the Red Sox need -- what they've needed since they traded Ramirez last July -- is a true middle-of-the-order hitter. Teixeira always fit them best.
Now does that mean they're prepared to outbid anyone else? Does that mean that if a team like the Nationals wants to go to $200 million for eight years, or maybe even more than that for 10 years, that the Red Sox would or should match it?
No it doesn't. Remember, they have their limits.