SaltyMark Teixeira, one of the hottest names bandied about before tomorrow’s trade deadline, has just been traded. The Rangers are sending the first baseman and a lefty reliever, Rob Mahay, to the Braves. The Braves are giving up their top two prospects (and with them, any chance of reclaiming the awesome-nickname-days of yore).

Some suspected that Texas wanted to dump Teixeira because he was a chronic complainer. Nevertheless, it seems they got a lot in return. According to early reports, Atlanta sent them top-rated catching prospect Jarrod Saltalamacchia, shortstop-of-the-future Elvis Andrus, pitching prospect Matt Harrison and 19-year-old righthander Nestali Feliz. Salty (as he is known) and Elvis (Elvis!!) are the top two prospects in the Braves’ organization. Harrison is their third-ranked youngster.

Teixeira is eligible for salary arbitration after this season. He becomes a free agent at the end of next season.

I can’t decide whether the Rangers have made out like bandits, or whether the Braves got Teixeira cheap. One the one hand, all the Braves had to give up was prospects. On the other, they reportedly gave up the best three prospects they had.

Here’s the short version on Teixeira:

Teixeira, a 27-year-old switch-hitting slugger, has won two Gold Gloves at first base. He is batting .297 this season with 13 home runs and 49 RBIs. Since breaking into the majors with Texas in 2003, Teixeira has had seasons of 26, 38, 43 and 33 home runs.

Only Ralph Kiner, Albert Pujols and Eddie Mathews hit more than the 140 homers that Teixeira had in his first four major league seasons. He had at least 33 homers and 110 RBIs in each of the past three.

The former Georgia Tech star will be a huge upgrade for the Braves, who’ve slid to third in the NL East and have been using stand-ins at first this year. But was it worth ditching their top three prospects, plus this guy Feliz? Well, Saltalamacchia had nowhere to go after the Braves re-upped last year’s breakout catcher, Brian McCann, to a six-year deal. Here’s what Baseball Prospectus has to say about Salty, Elvis, and Harrison.

ElvisElvis Andrus: Only 18, he’s “as toolsy as he is young” and “even if he’s only a speedy line-drive hitter with good glove-work, that’s still a potential All-Star, and there’s a chance he’ll be more than that.”

Jarrod Saltalamacchia: Twenty-two and six-foot-four, Salty battled a hand injury last season in Double A, but once he kicked it, hit “.338/.474/.649 in the last two months…the other good news is that he improved behind the plate, throwing out 36 percent of opposing runners.”

Matt Harrison: The 21-year old is built in the classic mode: a hulking lefty who likes to throw heat. Like Nuke LaLoosh he can hit 95, but generally works in the low 90s. Unlike Ebbie Calvin, however, he can also control where the ball is going. He “throws a ton of strikes and supplements his heat with a plus curve and change.”

I suppose it makes sense to move Saltalamacchia, if you’re confident you want to go with McCann. I mean, that’s what extraneous prospects are for, right? To use as chips. But to blow all your chips on one dude? I dunno. If the Braves miss the playoffs again this year, they may end up with buyers’ remorse.

Meanwhile, the Rangers have ended up with a young shortstop and a lefthanded starting pitcher for the future, and a catcher they could stick behind the plate tomorrow (sorry Gerald Laird). I’m going to have to give the Rangers the edge on this one. At least it looks like they have some kind of organizational philosophy. The Braves, on the other hand, still seem to be wandering in the desert.

12 Responses to “Teixeira traded for plethora of funny names.”

  1. Whoa whoa whoa! Sarah, I was on board with this article until the last sentence – then I nearly jumped out of my seat. Since when have the Braves lacked an organizational philosophy? If there’s ANY one team in the majors that demonstrates a consistent, defined organizational philosophy, it’s the Braves. They like to draft local prospects that thrive on pressure and want to play in Atlanta. They trust their scouts and farm system, as demonstrated by their unprecedented 14 year run atop the NL West/East standings. Their GM likes prospects, but will ALWAYS trade a touted prospect for a proven all-star (see Wainwright for J.D Drew, Andy Marte for Edgar Renteria, now Salty/Elvis for Tex, the list goes on)…That seems pretty damn consistent to me.

    And then to claim that the Rangers, the f’ing Rangers, have a clue about what they’re doing…that’s preposterous. I just don’t give it to you. They have a 20-something year old GM, they traded badasses Chris Young and Adrian Gonzalez for Akinori Otsuka, their pitching staff is in shambles…this list goes on and on too.

    I don’t disagree with your assessment of the trade – it hits the nail on the head and the scouting reports are great info…but you’re jumping the gun with those last sentences.

  2. Sarah Green says:

    It just seems to me like the Rangers are trying to fix their issues by saying, “Okay, let’s dump this clubhouse cancer for some cheap, young guys so that we can build a better organization in the future.” That looks like a plan. While the Braves are saying, “Fuck, we’re about to miss the playoffs for the second year in a row—let’s panic and acquire a proven star at the expense of our best three prospects, plus that other pitcher.” I don’t know how you give up that much for a position player. Unless they’ve got some secret plan to beef up their pitching staff. They have some good guys in the bullpen, and their first two starters(Smoltz, Hudson) are great, and their No. 3 (Chuck James) has been sort of middling, but who else do they have? And Smoltz, if you haven’t noticed, is about a million years old. But oh wait, let’s shoot our wad on a first baseman. Yeah, that’s an organizational philosophy. It’s the organizational philosophy the Red Sox had for way too long.

  3. Coley Ward says:

    If this trade signifies that the Rangers have an “organizational philosophy”, than what is it? Sarah, you say it means they’re attempting to get younger, but let’s not forget that they are, as we speak, trying to resign Eric Gagne, who is about 15 minutes away from his next season ending injury. And Tex was a young guy, so it’s not like he couldn’t have been part of a youth movement.

    The Rangers are trying to get younger AND win now. And you can’t do both. But that won’t stop them from trying.

  4. Paul Moro says:

    I don’t buy that the Rangers are trying to sign Gagne. It’s a ploy to drive up his trade value. As a Boras client, the Rangers aren’t going to pay the man. No way.

    Texas knows they’re licked. They are rebuilding. Book it.

  5. Sarah Green says:

    And if the Braves have had a philosophy for this season and last, what is it? I think their philosophy can be summed up as, “Crap, the Mets don’t suck any more!”

  6. Nick Kapur says:

    I take it, Zvee, that you don’t agree with my oft repeated suggestions that John Schuerholz is secretly one of the worst GMs in the game?

    Obviously, I’ve got to go with Sarah on this one. While it’s quite true that the Braves have been consistent about trying to sign local talent, if they have any other sort of consistent organizational philosophy at the major league level, I have yet to figure out what it is. What kind of organizational philosophy was it when they signed Brian Jordan and Raul Mondesi to be their starting corner outfielders a few years ago? What kind of organizational philosophy was it that they never signed any relievers for 10 years, and just hoped Leo Mazzone could turn scrap heap guys into gold, and then as soon as Leo left it stopped working so they panicked and traded their awesome first baseman away for a middle reliever which is exactly why they had no first baseman and had to go out and get Teixera?

    If you can tell me how trading Adam LaRoche for Mike Gonzalez so you are forced to trade your 3 best prospects for Tiexera qualifies as a consistent organizational philosophy, I would like to know what that philosophy is.

  7. Sarah Green says:

    Ooh. An update. Apparently, the Rangers are concerned about an arm issue with Harrison, but as of this time are still planning on going ahead. They can substitute another pitching prospect if they want to.

    Here’s what the AJC had to say about Feliz: “The second pitcher will be right-hander Neftali Feliz, 19, a hard-throwing Dominican rated the Braves’ No. 18 prospect by Baseball America. He has 70 strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings in two seasons at Rookie and Class-A levels.” I assume that is 51 and a third, not 5 and a third. 70 strikeouts in five innings would be something special indeed!

    Also, apparently Saltalamacchia is married to one of his former teachers. She’s 37. He’s 21. They already have two kids. And their relationship conveniently started when Salty had just turned 18.

  8. Also, apparently Saltalamacchia is married to one of his former teachers. She’s 37. He’s 21. They already have two kids. And their relationship conveniently started when Salty had just turned 18.

    So? What do that have to do with the trade? From what I’ve read your just looking for reasons to blast the Braves.

  9. Coley Ward says:

    Rain Delay, this is a blog. If you can’t talk about players marrying their former teachers when they were 18 on a blog, then when can you talk about it?

  10. Coley Ward says:

    More gossip on Salty’s gym teacher wife:

    There’s no way around the proverbial elephant in the room, so here are the quick answers: She’s in her 30s, significantly older than the 20-year-old catcher; she never taught a class with him in it; she said their personal relationship didn’t begin until the fall of 2004, a year after he graduated.

  11. Paul Moro says:

    I know a guy who ran into his old jr. high gym teacher at a bar (the teacher was female). Took her home. Slept with her. The kicker is, the guy’s female roommate was in the next room having sex with the teacher’s brother.

    True story. And that’s why Texas did well in the trade.

  12. Sarah Green says:

    How does mentioning that a now-ex-Braves catcher got hot for teacher “blast the Braves”??

    I think the real question now is, is Ashley an HBW?

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