LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Slugger Mark Teixeira's bat fits perfectly into Atlanta's lineup behind that of Chipper Jones, he's well-liked by his teammates, he seems to enjoy being an Atlanta Brave ... and yet, he's a free agent following the 2008 season and it isn't as if many Braves are working overtime recruiting him to sign an extension before his probable departure.
"I don't think there's any amount of convincing that can be done," Jones says. "Unfortunately, he's a true believer in Scott Boras' style, and that doesn't bode well for us."
Oh, right. Teixeira's agent is Boras, who consistently directs his clients toward the biggest payday.
"This is his first big payday, and I think he's going to get a lot of money," Jones says.
You don't have to be wearing Boras' loafers or Jones' cleats to figure that.
Teixeira won't elaborate on his personal feelings toward the Braves or on his early thoughts regarding his future.
"We'll talk at the end of the season, me and 30 teams," he says. "I'm just worried about getting this team to the playoffs."
Acquired from Texas last season after he had a falling out with Rangers manager Ron Washington, Teixeira hit in Atlanta just as he did in Texas. He thumped 17 homers and collected 56 RBIs in only 54 games with the Braves. Though Atlanta missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season, the Braves finished only five games behind Philadelphia as Teixeira bashed and made everyone around him better.
"I know having him hit in the lineup behind me last year was great," says Jones, who had 29 homers and 102 RBI in '07. "I'm looking forward to having him hit behind me against this year."
At the very least, even if Teixeira does follow the trail of another Boras client who once played here -- Andruw Jones, now playing center field for the Los Angeles Dodgers -- the Braves figure to benefit from having his bat in the lineup for six months rather than just two.
"I wish we had him for six years," manager Bobby Cox says.
Likes: If you missed it when I flagged it last summer following Teixeira's arrival in Atlanta, you've got to check out the classic tribute song two Auburn kids perform on YouTube. It is outstanding. ... Several Braves -- John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Chipper Jones, Tim Hudson and Brian McCann among them -- who had stayed behind to practice sitting together in the clubhouse and yukking it up like high schoolers after the bus left for Winter Haven and a Grapefruit League game with the Indians the other morning before they were due on the field. ... Lakeland's Mario's Italian Restaurant. The place has been around so long that former Detroit general manager Jim Campbell and field manager Sparky Anderson regularly dined there back in the day. ... Main Street Creamery and Deli in Lakeland. A quaint old reminder of what things must have looked like in the days of soda fountains. ... Last trip today on the Polk Parkway. Not that I mind the Lakeland area, but the fourth day in a row of driving past this skunk that was smoked who-knows-when and lies there in all of its bloody glory on the side of the road, let's just say it's a daily sight I'm happy to no longer have to view. Doesn't the city or county get rid of those things here?
Dislikes: Pedro Martinez's start in Viera getting rained out Thursday night. It is coming down in buckets. ... Love XM radio, love this year's POTUS channel (acronym for President of the United States, it's all election news all the time, and the '70s channel never fails to crack me up. But I gotta come clean here, when the '70s channel played the Captain and Tennille's Muskrat Love today, I went with the iPod. My God, how did that song ever get written in the first place, let alone recorded?
Sunblock day? Warm -- upper 70s -- but cloudy and overcast all day. If you're looking for sun, the weather this week hasn't been a bargain.
Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:
"I sat alone in the dark one night
"Tuning in by remote
"I found a preacher who spoke of the light
"But there was brimstone in his throat
"He'd show me the way according to him
"In return for my personal check
"I flipped my channel back to CNN
"And I lit another cigarette"
-- Mary Chapin-Carpenter, I Take My Chances