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Mark wants to win

 

FRISCO, Texas -- When Mark Teixeira addresses the future, he talks about how much he loves the Rangers and how much he likes living in the Metroplex.

 

But he also makes it sound more and more like his time with the the Rangers is inexorably coming to a close. That doesn't mean he's going to be traded any time soon or even wants to be traded.

 

The simple fact, though, is that the Rangers are on their way to their fourth losing season in their last five seasons and they are going to miss the playoffs for the eighth straight year.

 

Frustration over that leads to the inevitable conclusion that Teixeira will no longer be with the Rangers after the 2008 season. He can be a free agent at that point and re-signing with the Rangers appears to be a dubious proposition at best.

 

"Everybody wants to win," Teixeira said Wednesday. "I don't know any competitor who doesn't want to win. It gets old. Our fans deserve better and there are a lot of guys in the clubhouse who want better. We've put our heart and soul into this organization and it's a tough pill to swallow to be at the bottom of the league every year."

 

Teixeira spoke Wednesday before getting ready to play for the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders at Dr Pepper Ballpark. He has been sidelined for over a month with a strained left quadriceps muscle, and the plan is for him to play one game on medical rehabilitation assignment before being activated on Friday when the Rangers begin the second half against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

 

The Rangers are 38-50 and in last place in the American League West. They are 15 games behind the Angels and six games behind the third-place Oakland Athletics.

 

"We're a big-market team that's playing like a small-market team," Teixeira said. "Unless you hit with some young players and pitchers, it's tough to play that way. I know the business better than anybody.

 

"I go to the union meetings and I keep up with what's going on in the offseason. I know this is a business, but when the Yankees go out and get All-Stars every year and the Red Sox go out and get All-Stars every year, it shows you they want to compete and win."

 

Teixeira is signed through this season, but will have just five years of Major League experience at the end of the year. That means he still has one more year to go before he can become a free agent.

 

Asked if he thought the Rangers could win before he can become a free agent, Teixeira said, "I think we have a lot of work to do. No doubt about it. I want to dogpile on Michael Young and Hank Blalock at The Ballpark. I'm hoping it will happen this year or next year, but the window is closing."

 

The Rangers have made it clear that they would be interested in talking about a long-term extension. Teixeira and his agent Scott Boras seem willing to wait.

 

Re-signing Teixeira would be a sign the Rangers are serious about winning. But he said that's hardly enough.

 

"It takes 25 guys to win a championship," Teixeira said. "The two best players in baseball over the past few years are Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez and they have zero championships. That's not to take away from their individual accomplishments. They're great players, but it still takes 25.

 

"No amount of money takes the place of winning, and every player feels the same way. A championship is a lot more important than money. I know there is no substitute for winning baseball."

 

There is also the perception that Boras is the one who will make Teixeira sign elsewhere, but he scoffed at the suggestion.

 

"Anybody who knows me knows I am my own boss," Teixeira said. "Scott Boras works for me. It's worked out well for the Rangers. When it comes to me, the Rangers should thank Scott Boras because [after he was drafted fifth overall in 2001], I was five hours away from going back to school."

 

Teixeira said he is also not losing any sleep over the possibility that he will be perceived as being greedy when it comes to his contract situation.

 

"I can't worry about those things," Teixeira said. "I played in over 500 games in a row. I played hard, I live in the Metroplex, and I have a foundation that supports people who live in the Metroplex. My wife and I care about this team and this community. Anybody who wants to paint a different picture, that's their problem."

 

His immediate plan is to get healthy. He knows there's a possibility he could be traded, either sometime in the next three weeks or at some point during the offseason. Right now, the Rangers have nothing in the works. The Los Angeles Dodgers have shown the most interest, but that has cooled off since recently recalled rookie first baseman James Loney is off to a quick start.

 

For now, Teixeira insists when it's time to play, he can ignore trade talk and concentrate on the game.

 

"I'm not going to let it be a distraction to my team," Teixeira said. "I'm a Ranger. I've done my best playing for this team the last five years. I live here and I've put everything I have into this organization and I'm going to keep doing that until somebody buys me a plane ticket elsewhere.

 

"I don't know what the team's plans are. In 2003, they were rebuilding. In 2007, you still hear the same things. I still try to go out and play as hard as I can."

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