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7/30/2007 01:37:00 PM
Teixeira goes to Atlanta, plus other deals
Mark Teixeira has just 13 homers this year, but has had at least 26 in his previous four big-league seasons.
A few teams got ahead of the game by swinging deals before tomorrow’s trade deadline. Let’s take a look at what’s gone down over the past few days:
-- Braves acquire Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay from Rangers for Jarrod Saltalamacchia and minor leaguers: Teixeira is the biggest fish of this year’s deadline, although he has just 13 homers and 49 RBIs this season -- a far cry from his .301-43-144 season in 2005. Still, Teixeira is just 27 and already has 153 career homers in four and half seasons in the league. He obviously becomes the must-have player in NL-only leagues, and he’ll have plenty of run-producing opportunities in a lineup that already includes Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, Jeff Francoeur and Brian McCann. Teixeira has been a second-half guy in terms of power, so hopefully he improves his power stats even away from cozy Arlington. Maybe heading back to Atlanta, where starred at Georgia Tech, could do that.
The Braves also got in the deal the lefty Mahay, who was 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA coming out of the bullpen. He will take the spot as the Braves’ sole lefty in the pen vacated by Wil Ledezma, who was designated for assignment on Sunday.
On the other side of the deal, Saltalamacchia has been a top Braves catching prospect for a couple of years, although his spot at catcher was blocked by McCann. Saltalamacchia, who was hitting .284 with four homers and 12 RBIs, has been playing some first base as the Braves tried to keep his bat in the lineup. With Texas now having such a big hole at first, Saltalamacchia likely will take over there at least for now, although he could supplant Gerald Laird behind the plate as well.
The Rangers also picked up top shortstop prospect Elvis Andrus in the package of minor leaguers in the deal. Andrus won’t turn 19 until next month and he’s got plenty of speed (25 steals this year).
-- Astros acquire Ty Wigginton from Devil Rays for Dan Wheeler: Wigginton has provided decent power the past couple of years, picking up 16 in Tampa Bay this season playing all over the field. He’s going to take over the starting third base job from the disappointing Morgan Ensberg, who was designated for assignment. Wigginton also has eligibility at first and second, in addition to third, which makes him a great pickup in NL-only leagues.
Meanwhile, Wheeler, who had 11 saves for the Astros, will continue to be a setup man for the Devil Rays, at least for now. Closer Al Reyes is on the trade block, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him dealt tomorrow, elevating Wheeler back to closer. Wheeler’s been spotty all year, but the chance at getting saves makes him a coveted commodity. Also, Chad Qualls moves up to the main setup spot behind Brad Lidge now that Wheeler is in Tampa Bay.
-- Reds acquire Jorge Cantu from Devil Rays for two pitchers: Cantu hit 28 homers with 117 RBIs in 2005, but has been a major bust since then, and was recently sent down to the minors. It’ll be tough for Cantu to find a spot in the crowded Reds infield, so he’s probably not much more than a pinch-hitter whenever he gets called back up to the majors.
-- Padres acquire Scott Hairston from Diamondbacks for Leo Rosales: After hitting 13 homers in 2004, Hairston has bounced between the big club and the minors and was primarily a spare outfielder. He’ll occupy the same role in San Diego, especially after the Padres sent Terrmel Sledge down to the minors. Nothing to get excited about here.