As Rangers arrive, we say: The Teixeira deal wasn’t that bad

Elvis Andrus as a Rome Brave.

Back in the day: Elvis Andrus as a Rome Brave.

The Texas Rangers arrive at Turner Field tonight for a three-game series, and no Braves fan will ever think of the Rangers as anything but the organization that remade itself by renting Mark Teixeira to the local team for a year.

Of the five prospects the Braves sent  to Texas, three are big-league Rangers today. (A fourth, Jerrod Saltalamacchia, is Boston’s No. 1 catcher.)

Teixeira arrived in August 2007, played 157 games as a Brave and was traded to the Angels in July 2008 and signed with the Yankees — doesn’t everybody? — that winter.

For the Braves, the trade was a considered mistake. They knew what they were doing; it just didn’t work. Teixeira’s presence didn’t lift them above the Phillies in either of his partial seasons here. He wasn’t terrible. He was actually pretty darn good. But one year’s rental didn’t yield the desired result, and it came at great cost. That said …

The trade didn’t bankrupt the Braves’ farm system, which has gone on to produce Tommy Hanson, Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman, with Julio Terehan waiting in Gwinnett. And the Braves will argue that the two key everyday players they shipped to Texas — Saltalamacchia and shortstop Elvis Andrus — were blocked in this organization. (Salty by Brian McCann, Andrus by Yunel Escobar, who was traded to Toronto last summer for Alex Gonzalez.)

Bottom line: The Rangers reached the World Series last season with Andrus as their shortstop and Neftali Feliz as their closer, but the Braves made the playoffs, too. As nice as it would be to have a lefthander like Matt Harrison in the rotation — he’ll start against the Braves on Saturday — the Braves’ problems haven’t been pitching. (There’s no question Andrus would be useful here, though. He’s 22. Gonzalez is 34.)

Neither party to the big trade has gone to seed. The Rangers are good. They lead the American League despite having lost their past five games. The Braves are good, too. They have the third-best record in the National League.

The Rangers got exactly what they wanted from the Tex deal and the Braves did not, which means the Rangers won the trade. But that doesn’t mean this was the worst deal in Atlanta annals. It wasn’t even close to being the worst. Len Barker for Brett Butler, Brook Jacoby and Rick Behenna and $150,000 — don’t forget the $150k! –will always be the worst. Always.

By Mark Bradley

167 comments Add your comment

todd grantham

June 17th, 2011
10:58 am

mark, recovered from the other night?

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2011
10:59 am

Yes, but it took some doing.

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2011
10:59 am

Kudos, FYI,TG.

todd grantham

June 17th, 2011
10:59 am

i couldn’t hang with that game, and after i saw your byline of 1.25am was glad i didnt try.

todd grantham

June 17th, 2011
11:01 am

That trade does rank up in the top few bad ones for the Braves. It is certainly the worst one with active players.

MLH

June 17th, 2011
11:01 am

todd grantham

June 17th, 2011
11:02 am

I’d take Salty as a backup for McCann.

todd grantham

June 17th, 2011
11:03 am

Best trade in Braves history: Doyle Alexander for John Smoltz.

todd grantham

June 17th, 2011
11:04 am

Best free agent signing was Greg Maddux. Worst was Nick Esasky.

todd grantham

June 17th, 2011
11:05 am

Andy Messersmith second worst free agent signing. Second best was Fred McGriff.

chem

June 17th, 2011
11:06 am

more stats! less words!

todd grantham

June 17th, 2011
11:06 am

worst decision to let a player go: Phil Neikro.

todd grantham

June 17th, 2011
11:07 am

least loyal Braves player: Bruce Benedict.

Benjamin

June 17th, 2011
11:12 am

What’s the story behind Bruce Benedict, Todd? I used to love how the PA announcer introduced him to the plate as a kid, but I was a little too young at the time to know of his “loyalty” or “disloyalty.”

Good article, Mark. The gap on that trade has certainly narrowed, at least slightly, with time.

todd grantham

June 17th, 2011
11:14 am

Benny, think about the last name. a little joke. best, Todd

SimpleDawg

June 17th, 2011
11:16 am

Any comments other than ….. “It was a terrible, horrific trade for the Braves, who gave up the house for one rent-a-ho skank,” are just stupid.

4 young front-line major leaguers for a rental player is indescribably bad decision making.

Vomax

June 17th, 2011
11:16 am

Bradley:

I’m afraid that, if you’re at all insinuating that the Braves wouldn’t be better off today had they not made that trade, you and I have a fundamental disagreement.

In return for one year from one player, the Braves turned over what ended up being two superb young players (Andrus and Feliz) and one solid back-of-the-rotation left-hander (Harrison). Nevermind Saltalamacchia.

The only Braves trade that makes me even close to as mad as the Teixeira deal did was the Wainwright-for-Drew debacle; sure, we got a spectacular season out of Drew, but that’s all we got. And all the Cardinals have is one of the best pitchers in baseball, this injured year obviously notwithstanding.

Cobb Dawg

June 17th, 2011
11:18 am

Thinking about Len Barker makes my head hurt.

Cobb Dawg

June 17th, 2011
11:19 am

And my heart sad.

Paul H

June 17th, 2011
11:19 am

No Hanson tonight. Any chance our offense can do what it did last night?

eastbound and down

June 17th, 2011
11:20 am

it was a bad trade. escobar should never have blocked andrus. better off trading escobar for other players and keeping andrus, who has some speed and also appears to have his head on straght. and then the braves wind up making a “spite trade” for gonzalez.

if you are trading prospects for position players, you are better off trading for players that aren’t past their prime or for players that are under contract for a longer period of time. Of course, i supported the uggla trade and we can see how that turned out. and yes, the len barker trade was the worst. justice and grissom for lofton wasn’t too good either.

longtime braves fan

June 17th, 2011
11:23 am

doyle alexander to detroit for minor league pitcher john smoltz will forever be the best trade atlanta ever made.if i remeber correctly that tarde was made at the of that season. i am not sure how detroit fared with alexander.

John

June 17th, 2011
11:26 am

Worst trade in Atlanta Braves annals, maybe. The Nique-for-Manning trade will always be the worst Atlanta trade. It’s hard to conceive of a worse trade than trading your best player in the middle of your best shot to win a championship in the 20-odd years since the franchise arrived.

Terry Pendleton, JR

June 17th, 2011
11:28 am

Currently, our chances of getting a game-winning balk called are better than us being able to score 10 runs on another team.

FIRE LARRY PARRISH!!!!

Joshua Barlowe

June 17th, 2011
11:29 am

You’re crazy if you think this wasn’t a horrible trade. Andrus is a 22-year-old star, and is as solid is they come. Neftali is going to be an absolute stud pitcher – Salty wasn’t the great loss here.

It was a really bad trade.

Mr. Obvious

June 17th, 2011
11:32 am

If anyone is wondering why John Schuerholz got [ahem] “promoted” to Team President and OUT of the Braves General Manager’s role, all this talent he traded away for an 11-month Teixeira rental is the pivotal reason why.

Those who still can, do.

Those who suddenly can’t, get promoted.

Dr. Phil

June 17th, 2011
11:34 am

The trade in question was the worst of a number of mistakes made by Frank Wren, such as the Kawakami disaster, and the reverse Midas touch for McLouth and Uggla.

Curious George

June 17th, 2011
11:38 am

Did John Schuerholz get an A.L. Championship Ring from the Rangers for his direct and overwhelming impact on putting them in the World Series last year?

Mark Bradley

June 17th, 2011
11:45 am

Frank Wren didn’t make this trade.

Reggie Ball

June 17th, 2011
11:48 am

The Braves got taken to the cleaners and you can’t call it a bad trade? Or are you just trolling for large responses to yet another joke of sportswriting nonsense?

todd grantham

June 17th, 2011
11:49 am

Wren didnt make the Tex trade? i thought he did.

Biff Pocoroba Fan Club

June 17th, 2011
11:51 am

The Braves have won DESPITE making this awful trade, not because of it. How can you title your article “The Teixeira deal wasn’t that bad”?

Also the Braves trade of Michael Tucker for Jermaine Dye was worse than the Len Barker deal. Brett Butler had a decent career after the Braves, but Dye was an All Star player for a number of years after that trade.

Ray

June 17th, 2011
11:52 am

the Teixeira trade was an unmitigated disaster so pretending it wasn’t so bad is just wishful thinking.
how was the Barker trade worse ? Behenna was useless, Jacoby was decent for a while and Butler was good. Feliz and Andrus will likelly be excellent for a long time. then, add Harrison and Salty to the equation. even though Texieira was much better than Barker, but only for basically 1 full season, it doesn’t make up the difference.

Mike Jay

June 17th, 2011
11:53 am

This tired old dead horse…..

It was NOT a bad trade. You have to give up good talent to get a player of Texiera’s skills. The failure was in not resigning long term. If i am not mistaken Texeria gave every indication he was going to resign with Atlanta but either his agent or his greed changed his mind. Braves probably should have know better but still. Also, if the Braves had won a world series with him this conversation doesn’t even happen. Recall this trade was made before we all realized Escobar was nutjob. He was on his way to stardom so Andrus was expendable, as was Salty. When you have great talent in the minors with All stars blocking them on the major league roster you have trade bait. You trade the proven all stars or you trade the talent. Braves were close to title so trading talent made the most sense.

ATL Fan

June 17th, 2011
11:56 am

Will Johnathan Taylor be at the game?

ATL Fan

June 17th, 2011
11:57 am

It’d be great if he could throw out the first pitch.

Vomax

June 17th, 2011
12:01 pm

@Mike Jay…you’re not thinking clearly: several things, including the failure to re-sign Teixeira are what made the trade awful.

The failure to re-sign, when coupled with the productivity and high ceilings of Andrus and Feliz (not to mention the steady play of Harrison), makes the trade an awful exchange.

rich

June 17th, 2011
12:02 pm

Another bad trade was David Justice AND Marquis Grissom for Kenny Lofton and Alan Embree

melvin nieves

June 17th, 2011
12:03 pm

fred mcgriff wasn’t a free agent signing. he was traded for me and two other scrubs in july of ‘93.

P Rose

June 17th, 2011
12:10 pm

Smoltz for Alexander was of course the greatest trade in Braves history, but Jurrjens and Gorkys Hernandez for Edgar Rentería was pretty good. The Barker and Texieira deals were bad, but Adam Wainwright, Jason Marquis and Ray King for J. D. Drew and Eli Marrero was the worst. Adam would have been the Braves’ ace for a decade. Drew is a bum!

P Rose

June 17th, 2011
12:11 pm

Forgot about the Justice/Lofton deal, Rich. That was pretty bad too.

John Galt

June 17th, 2011
12:17 pm

But I’d rather have David Ross than Salty.

P Rose

June 17th, 2011
12:20 pm

John Galt, who are you? I agree, with McCann and Ross here, who needs Salty.

ijudgenot

June 17th, 2011
12:23 pm

The only good thing about that trade was that it set the “low water” mark for the Braves of what not to do in a trade. Wren in replacing JS has been more careful to keep and develope frontline prospects. Schuerholz and Cox were nearing the end of their reighn and were willing to mortgage the farm for a shot at one more championship. Wren has made mistakes, but they were in paying way too much for free agents(Lowe, Linebrink,Sherril, Kawakami) Uggla trade given his past numbers was not a mistake. The mistake was locking him up with long term deal instead of two year deal with an option year for both sides.

Peter

June 17th, 2011
12:30 pm

Jermaine Dye for Michael “I lost my contacts” Tucker? Remember that one?

Peter

June 17th, 2011
12:33 pm

I agree, the Teixiera deal was a bad deal, but it hasn’t exactly decimated the franchise.

TS

June 17th, 2011
12:37 pm

The “blocked in the organization” argument doesn’t hold water. All that means is that the Braves were going to trade those guys sooner or later, not that the Braves had to trade them for a one-year rental player.

bruce

June 17th, 2011
12:38 pm

Mark, I appreciate the perspective, helpful to me and now I am satisfied.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

June 17th, 2011
12:40 pm

still like Ross over Salty- didn’t Salty go through an issue where he couldn’t throw the ball back to the pitcher?? Andrus & Feliz- would’ve like to keep, however, Kimbrel/Venters IMO, are better. Jury still out on Gonzo & Andrus..although age is a huge factor.

the real Old Gold

June 17th, 2011
12:44 pm

It was THAT bad.