Tuesday, August 5

Teixeira Trade Redux.

At first glance, I was disappointed by the return we got for Mark Teixeira, but that's because I was comparing it to what some hyped-up rumors were predicting and not to the ultimate "payoff" for hanging on to him until the bitter end. All in all, I think Frank Wren did well enough in this trade and I'll be looking forward to what he does this offseason to further evaluate him as Atlanta's General Manager.

Though the Braves were expected to wait until the deadline date to deal their best tradeable asset, they shipped 1B Mark Teixeira to the Los Angeles Angels of Anahiem (of California of the United States of North America) two days earlier than that in exchange for 1B Casey Kotchman and minor league pitcher Stepthen Marek. Atlanta was hoping for a solid, controllable 1B to headline any package for Tex and "L.A." was apparently the only team willing to do just that.

While Kotchman's bat seems about average (perhaps slightly deficient for his position) it has shown flashes of more in the injury-shortened 2005 season and again last year in his first campaign as full-time starter. He has a history of taking his fair share of walks and rarely strikeouts, so while his power leaves much to be desired, he limits any negative impact that hitters can have at the plate. Moreover, as recently as 2004, he demonstrated solid power numbers in the high minors and could develope that once again in the majors. His most impressive attribute, however, is his defense and it is categorized as legitimately Gold Glove caliber. Keep in mind that he's only 25 years old and that he will be cheaply under the team's control for three more seasons.

Stephen Marek is a lesser known name in the minors, but he has some promise. Prior to 2008, he had started nearly every game he had appeared in as a professional with limited success. He had, however, demonstrated a negative trend in those first few years due to poor control and it was clear that he would be unable to make it as a starter at higher levels. This season, the Angels moved him into the bullpen where he has been better. Despite moving up to AA, he increased his strikeouts, lower the ammount of hits he's given up and limited his homeruns allowed. He's still struggling with his command and he'll need to dramatically lower the number of walks he issues if he hopes to make it to the majors. He has obvious raw talent and some work on his mechanics could help him tremendously. Whether the Braves chose to keep him as a reliever or return him to the rotation, he's a legitimate prospect.

It's foolish to compare this package to what Atlanta had to give up to acquire Teixera from Texas at this time last year for a number of reasons (we used up 2/3 of the time before Tex hit the open market, we also acquired RP Ron Mahay in that deal and drafted P Brett DeVall with the compensation pick that we received when he left via free agency, etc.) so those who cling to that as a reason to pan this deal are making a foolish mistake. Instead, ask yourselves whether Kotchman and Marek are better than two draft picks in the up-coming draft; if, like me, you believe that they are, then you can breathe easier about this trade. In fact, we should all take a step back and wait until GM Frank Wren has some more action under his belt before we judge his job performance for the Braves. In the end, this deal won't make or break us, so I'm O.K. with the outcome.