Today, I would like to look back at a trade that had a major effect on the last two World Series, as well as, analyze the horrible mismanagement of Mark Teixeira by the Atlanta Braves. In 2007, the Atlanta Braves were a contender with an excessive two young stud catchers (Brian McCann and Jarrod Saltalamacchia) and a need for one more power bat in their lineup. So at the ’07 trading deadline the Braves sent Saltalamacchia along with prospects shortstop Elvis Andrus, pitchers Matt Harrison, Neftali Feliz, and Beau Jones in exchange for left handed reliever Ron Mahay and powerful first baseman Teixeira. The Braves finished in third place in the NL East in ’07, despite Teixeira and Mahay putting up big numbers. On the other hand, Saltalamacchia did nothing for Texas, a non-contender, while the other 4 prospects continued to develop in a new minor league system.
At the 2008 trading deadline the Braves were nowhere near playoff position (Mahay left after 2007), and with Teixeira becoming a free agent at the end of the season, he was a commodity they could not afford. Thus, Atlanta accepted a package of first baseman Casey Kotchman and minor league pitcher Stephen Marek, from the Los Angeles Angels for Teixeira. The Angels made the playoffs, but Teixeira was not able to help them get over the hump and win the World Series. Teixeira left the Angels in free agency for the pinstripes of New York.
At the 2009 trading deadline, the Braves traded Kotchman to the Boston Red Sox for first baseman Adam LaRoche. After two months of service in Atlanta, LaRoche, also left for free agency, signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Thus, Stephen Marek, who has yet to make the major leagues is the only player left with the Braves, who was involved in all of these deadline deals. The Rangers on the other hand have retained almost everyone involved in the original Teixeira trade. Ironically, the original “gem” of the prospect package, Saltalamacchia, is the one no longer with the club. In 2010, Texas traded Saltalamacchia to Boston for minor leaguers Chris McGuinness, Roman Mendez, Michael Thomas, and cash. So what has become of the other four prospects that are still with Texas?
Beau Jones is still idling in the Rangers minor league system, but the other three players happen to be household names, in 2011. Texas has now won back-to-back American League championships. And Matt Harrison, Elvis Andrus, and Nefalti Feliz have been big pieces in both World Series appearances, especially in 2011. Harrison started Game 7 of ’11 World Series, Andrus was the starting shortstop for both A.L. championship teams, and Feliz, no thanks to Nelson Cruz, was one strike away from closing out a World Series championship in Game 6 before blowing that game. Thus, you could say Texas got some serious value out of trading Teixeira, especially when you consider how little Atlanta got in return for Teixeira’s services only one season later. But just how much value did the three teams Teixeira played for get out of these deals?
Between 2007-08, Atlanta received 6.4 wins (WAR) from Mahay, Teixeira, and Kotchman, and spent $12.2 million for those players. The Angels received 3.6 wins from Teixeira, in the short time he was with the team, in 2008 and paid out $5 million to the first baseman. While the other player spent time in the minors, The Rangers received a combined .5 WAR from Saltalamacchia and Harrison from ’07-’08 and spent just under $1 million. In 2009, Kotchman put up 0.9 wins for Atlanta, before being traded for LaRoche who added 1.8 wins for the Braves, the two players made $4.56 million combined. Saltalamacchia, Feliz, Andruz, and Harrison combined for 5.4 wins for only $1.6 million for Texas, in 2009. In 2010, the same four players combined for 4 WAR and the Rangers spent $1.5 million. And in 2011, three major players in the World Series, as mentioned earlier, made only $1.32 million and accumulated a whopping 9.7 wins.
Thus, when these numbers are aggregated the true impact of the “Teixeira trades” is very evident, and Texas is the clear winner. The players involved accumulated 9.1 WAR for Atlanta for $16.76 million, the Angels received 3.6 wins in exchange for $5 million, and Texas has received (with more to come) 19.6 WAR for only $5.37 million. These numbers calculated for $/WAR, the Braves spent $1.84 million per win, Los Angeles spent $1.4 million per win, and the Rangers spent 274k per win, for the players involved in these trades. There were many factors that lead to the Rangers reaching the World Series two seasons in a row, but trading Mark Teixeira in 2007, is an interesting factor, that in my opinion was a major factor, adding three huge members of their AL Championship teams.