Worst Trades in Braves History: Mark Teixeira

“Still a douche” ~Tim Hudson

No one wants to remember it. No one wants to write about it. And EVERYONE wonders…what if? Today’s topic…*Ugh* Worst Trades in Braves History: Mark Teixeira.

July 31st, 2007

The Braves were going into the day a mediocre 55-51. Mediocre is a good word to describe every facet of the 2007 team…that should’ve been good. The starting pitching had 2 good pitchers, 1 ok, 2 horrible. The bullpen had 3 good relievers, 2 ok, and the rest horrible. The lineup was the best part of the team but had a black hole at 1B where Scott Thorman, Craig Wilson, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia shared time. It didn’t work. Looking back at it, you can almost hear the words coming out of Wren’s mouth behind the plexiglass…”If we only had a first baseman”. Well, after Mark Teixeira and agent Scott Boras turned down an 8/140MM extension offer from the Rangers, Schuerholz went and got his first baseman.

Atlanta Braves received Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay

Texas Rangers received  Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Elvis Andrus,  Matt HarrisonNeftalí Feliz and Beau Jones.

The Locker Room Responds

On the day of the trade, Teixeira was activated for the game and Turner Field went nuts when he was shown on the Jumbotron in the 7th inning. He didn’t play that night but word reached the clubhouse before the game and, for a 55-51 team, the guys sure were confident.

“Yes, we’ve got the team to win the World Series.”

Brian McCann

“We’ve got a World Series team. That makes the whole lineup more dangerous. It’s exciting.”

Edgar Renteria

Teixeira? Great! Braves? Same.

Teixeira was an absolute monster out the gate for the Braves, homering in his first 3 games and was responsible for 9 runs crossing the plate. Unfortunately, a horrible bullpen in one and a poor outing from John Smoltz in another demolished chances of winning, and the Braves went 1-2 during those 3 games. Total, Teixeira hit 17 HRs in 54 games, carrying a 1.020 OPS, but it wasn’t enough to move the needle as the team finished exactly 1 game better than they were when the trade went down. 84-78. Third place in the division and behind 3 teams for the Wild Card.

Fast forward a year from the trade and the Braves were just not a good club. Teixeira was in his last year of control and rather than risk losing him for nothing, the Braves traded him to the Angels for a pretty good prospect, right? Wrong. Casey Kotchman. A glove first, first baseman. He stunk in 2008, was ok in 2009, and then he was flipped for Adam Laroche 2.0, who was much better than the original Adam Laroche.

Teixeira for a year (6.2 fWAR). Ron Mahay for a 1/2 season (0.3 fWAR). Casey Kotchman for a year (0.4 fWAR). Adam Laroche for a 1/2 year (2 fWAR). For? Yeah…this is where it gets rough.

Overall fWAR: 8.9

The Rangers MASSIVE Haul

  • Saltalamacchia never really figured it out with the Rangers but was traded to the Red Sox and put up 3 really good seasons. During his controlled years, Salty put up 8.6 fWAR.
  • Matt Harrison was one of the Rangers best starters in the 2011 and 2012 seasons, of which they gained playoff berths for both seasons. During his controlled years, he put up 8.2 fWAR.
  • Neftali Feliz, due to inability to stay healthy as a starter, became a high octane reliever for the Rangers, collecting 94 saves and a 5 fWAR during his controlled years.
  • Elvis Andrus was a defensive star from the moment he debuted, and developed into an above average regular for 9 years. During his controlled years, he put up 17.7 fWAR.
  • Beau Jones never made it to the bigs.

Overall fWAR for controlled years: 39.5 fWAR

How about we never do this again, eh? And for the record, maybe we Braves Journalers should listen to Stephen a little more.

Thanks for reading Worst Trades in Braves History, Mark Teixeira. Check out the entire catalog of Worst/Best Trades in Braves History here.

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

26 thoughts on “Worst Trades in Braves History: Mark Teixeira”

  1. The only good thing about the Tex trade was that the protection Tex provided Chipper in the lineup allowed Chipper to flirt with .400 in the ’08 season (& eventually win the batting title).

  2. But the phrase “still a douche” should have some ancillary WAR attached to it after all of these years, right?

  3. From the last thread, neither the owners or the players really want to play this truncated season. The only reason they are even ‘negotiating’ is because of public perception that is goading athletes with families, children and pregnant wives into air travel and poorly ventilated hotels during a pandemic where cases are still increasing in 18 states.

    In the end, there won’t be a season. Nor should there be.

    Also, Biff Pocoroba died yesterday and was only 67.

  4. RIP to Biff Pocoroba. I think the players want to play, but are scared about health. After all, they only have so many playing years. I think the owners are trying to use this situation to play hardball (no pun intended) — knowing that the CBA is coming next year, it feels like they’d rather not play a season than lose what could feel like years of leverage.

  5. Honest to goodness truth, I had a dream last night that I met Tim Hudson. We were having a conversation about baseball and family and whatnot. I was going to ask him about Mark Teixeira and then share his response with Braves Journal, but next thing I knew, I was in my childhood home and he was gone, and then I woke up.

  6. RIP Biff. He caught the the 9th inning of the 1978 All Star Game, with Phil Niekro coming in for the last batter, getting Darrell Porter to foul out. You had to stay up pretty late back then to see Braves play in the ASG. (That was also Jeff Burroughs’ only ASG appearance for the Braves, and he didn’t play at all.)

  7. @5

    They’re not gonna get any bonus points for having “tried” and failed to come to an agreement. Quite the opposite, in fact. If the “real” reason to cancel the season is that neither side really wants to play, they would’ve agreed to cancel it a month ago due to the virus and most people would’ve bought that and not been particularly angry about it.

  8. @1 JonathanF, the young man on the left, playing the guitar, in that famous video, is my cousin. Actually the son of my favorite 1st cousin growing up that was like a sister to me. We ended up going to college together and I was a groomsman in her wedding.

  9. Relative to age, the 2008 season might have been Chipper’s best season. He was hitting .400 up until June 18th, 293 PAs into the season. Probably the most impressive thing was he was hitting .419/.504/.676 after 264 PAs. It might be the best stretch by an Atlanta Braves hitter. Just doing some quick research, Hank’s best stretch in Atlanta across at least 200 PAs might have been in 1971 when he hit .347/.418/.690 across 329 PAs. Or in 1973 when he hit .369/.453/.729 across 254 PAs. Really incredible how great these guys were so late in their careers.

  10. @11: Wow… I’m upping my estimate to 0.3 WAR for familial connections with Braves Journal. Still makes the balance a wee bit short, but if anybody here is related to the guy on the right, I’ll add some more WAR.

  11. Great write-up Ryan. In your compilation did you come up with what the Braves spent for their 8.9 WAR vs what the combined controlled yrs of the prospects traded away cost for their 39.5?

  12. In 2007, the Braves team’s rank in the NL:
    Bullpen ERA: 2nd
    Starter ERA: 7th
    Batting Average: 4th
    OBP: 4th
    SLG: 6th

    Pythag record: 88-74

    This is where the math just doesn’t add up to a team that finished with the 7th best record in the NL. The lack of depth in bullpen arms and quality #4 and #5 starters absolutely destroyed this team. They even absorbed the loss of Edgar Renteria for a month by using Yunel Escobar and Kelly Johnson more.

    I guess that was what Dotel, Royce Ring, and Ron Mahay were supposed to help with, but it didn’t work out.

  13. ERAs from Starting Pitchers that were battle tested for the 4th and 5th starter job:
    Buddy Carlyle: 5.21 (20 starts)
    Kyle Davies: 5.71 (17 starts)
    JoJo Reyes: 6.22 (10 starts)
    Lance Cormier: 7.09 (9 starts)
    Mark Redman: 11.63 (5 starts)
    Anthony Lerew: 7.71 (3 starts)
    Jeff Bennett: 3.42 (2 starts)

    This is mind-boggling. How the heck does JS not address the starting pitching at the deadline, rather than picking up 3 relievers?

  14. Ryan, I also thought it strange that the Braves didn’t try the Vulture, Oscar Villarreal, given the disastrous 4/5 starter performance, excepting Bennett. Villarreal had better results than any of the others above in 2006, including 4 spot starts, and pitched well out of the pen in ’07 in often multi inning appearances.

  15. Andrus: ~16 MM in controlled years
    Harrison: ~15 MM in controlled years
    Feliz: ~9.5 MM in controlled years
    Salty: ~9 MM in controlled years

    Total: ~49.5MM

    Teixeira: ~10
    Kotchman: ~1MM
    Laroche: ~3MM

    Total: ~14MM

    Difference: 35.5MM
    Difference in years of team control: 21.5
    Difference in fWAR: 30.6

  16. I liked this trade at the time. It didn’t turn out well at all, obviously, but that’s about as bad as you’ll get me to say of it. Frank Wren giving us Casey Kotchman in return for Teixeira was not Scheurholz’s fault IMO.

    The ’07 team went 13-15 in August after making this trade which seemed to shore up most of their major weaknesses. It just didn’t make any sense.

    The season in a nutshell — Aug. 2 vs. Houston: The Braves pound out 22 hits and 11 runs (over 14 innings, admittedly), bringing their run total in the three games since making the trade up to 35 (12-4 and 12-3 wins the previous two nights). And yet, they somehow contrive to lose this game 12-11 because: a) Jo-Jo Reyes starts the game and he manages to give up five runs on two hits in the third; and b) Rafael Soriano can’t hold a 9-5 lead in the eighth, giving up a game-tying grand slam. We used six pitchers through nine innings in a period during which we scored nine runs. There were a ton of losses like that that year.

    As far as the haul we sent the Rangers, you can throw Salty and Andrus out when wringing your hands over this trade IMO. Salty didn’t have a spot at his natural position (McCann had that pretty well locked down) and I don’t think we’d have waited the three years it took for him to kinda sorta (but still kind of questionably) figure it out in Boston.

    Additionally, it would’ve wound up being either Andrus or Simmons. They played the same position and we would not have kept both, so if you want Andrus, you’re living in a world where we trade Simmons. For defense-first shortstops, I’ll take Simmons, thanks.

    So you’re looking at Harrison and Feliz as the major losses, and they did turn out to be big losses. But I’d rather be bold and try to get my team over the top with a trade like this than pull the AA act from the 2018-19 offseason, sitting on my hands and doing nothing to improve a team that could be just a couple pieces away.

    If you could drop me in an alternate reality 2007, I’d probably even do this trade again, to be honest. Obviously not if I was guaranteed the same outcome, but I probably would if the outcome would be left to the whims of fate. Maybe that’s dumb, but I’ve never been against this trade in principle.

  17. I remember being connected to CJ Wilson, but seriously? 2/5 of the rotation was a dumpster fire and it wasn’t addressed at all?

  18. Although the WAR ended up lopsided, it’s still hard for me to think of this as a bad trade. The Braves were trying to win now and the player acquired performed. It just didn’t work out because other holes didn’t get plugged and an unusually high number of prospects traded ended up being ML contributors. You roll the dice and sometimes it turns up snake eyes.

    I was at the game where Tex debuted for the Braves, and the crowd was really into it. I don’t know anything about Tex personally but I always liked him as a player, probably because I have a soft spot for Tech products (like Nomar and Varitek).

  19. Also, IMO Nick’s take @ 10 is correct. If the financials can be agreed upon, I think the vast majority of players will suit up. There will be some who are financially secure enough to pass, but the younger guys will go for it. They won’t want to lose the paycheck or service time and will figure that the risks are manageable. Even most of the veterans will probably play, it’s such a big part of their identity.

  20. @21 Nick, a significant portion of your argument rests on the Braves having to make a choice between Andrus and Simmons as their future SS. That’s just not accurate.
    Andrus had a full season as a starter by 2009. Simmons wasn’t even drafted until 2010 and 2013 was his first full season in the bigs. I’d probably pick Simmons too at that point but that was not a choice they had to make at the time and couldn’t have even been possible to consider making for 3 more years at least.
    The Braves could have gotten 4 yrs of stellar play for league minimum plus a cheap 1st arb year from Andrus and then could’ve traded him with 2 yrs of control and gotten a nice haul before Simmons would have forced their hand.

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