For Teixeira, this business is usual (cont.)
Teixeira is represented by hard-charging agent Scott Boras, and the number that the Braves came up with clearly was not what Boras expects Teixeira will command this winter when, after he does his thing with the Angels, he becomes a free agent. Estimates for what Teixeira will get on the open market begin in the $20 million a year range, for a minimum of five years. And both of those numbers are probably on the conservative side.
After that jerky start to '08, Teixeira seemed a sure short-timer, though a short-timer who still could help the Braves. But he plodded out to a slow start -- he had just seven home runs in the first two months -- and the Braves found themselves struggling to keep up with the Phillies, the Mets and, unexpectedly, the Marlins. Teixeira began to heat up in late June, and in his last 29 games with the Braves, he hit .337 with 10 home runs and 27 RBIs.
As Teixeira caught fire, though, everybody else on the team either slowed down or was injured. Francoeur is in a season-long funk. Jones is on the disabled list with a pulled hamstring. Pitcher Tim Hudson has an elbow injury that may well put him into surgery. John Smoltz's elbow gave out weeks ago. Tom Glavine is on the disabled list. Catcher Brian McCann suffered a concussion the other day on a play at the plate. The Braves have fallen nearly hopelessly behind in the East.
Business being business, Wren had little choice but to trade Teixeira and look to next year. In Kotchman, the Braves receive a good young hitter that will be under their control for the next three seasons and who, maybe, could help them compete again in '09. Teixeira goes to a familiar team in a familiar division that will compete for the AL title this season. He'll stay in Boras' guest house while he's swinging for the Angels, and then he and Boras will see what they can get this winter on the open market.
"I think I did all that was asked of me," Teixeira said, standing in front of what soon became an abandoned locker. "Unfortunately, we had so many injuries this year. It just didn't work out."
Before Tuesday's games, as Teixeira readied for batting practice, he sat down and talked about what might lie ahead. The uncertainties surrounding situations like these are often crippling, the human toll mostly untold, though Teixeira had been through it all just a year before. "I'll call my wife first, then pack up my locker and get ready to go," he shrugged. "If we have to move somewhere for two months, it's not a big deal."
A few minutes later, the deal was finalized. Wren, assistant GM Bruce Manno and manager Bobby Cox met with Teixeira to tell him the news. And then Teixeira talked to the media, praising both his old employer and his new one. He shook a lot of hands, accepted the well-wishers and then left Turner Field. He'll catch a plane to Boston for Wednesday's game. Thursday, the Angels play at Yankee Stadium.
And the business of baseball goes on.
They're lookin' over their shoulder at Mark Teixeira
-- the Mark Teixeira Tribute</br>