I'm surprised that Braves fans on this board aren't furious that the team let Teixeira go without a fight after giving up an ungodly ransom to get him. I broke it down a couple of days ago. After reading some of the posts, I'm shocked I'm not seeing more frustration when putting the entire Teixeira debacle into perspective.
Last night, first baseman Mark Teixeira was dealt from the Atlanta Braves to the Anaheim Angels for first baseman Casey Kotchman and minor league reliever Stephen Marek. The deal marks the end of a horribly failed experiment for the Braves whose net loss in value from Teixeira's receipt to send off is likely to set the franchise back years.
Just before the 2007 deadline, Teixeira was dealt along with Ron Mahay from the Texas Rangers to the Atlanta Braves for a quintet of highly regarded prospects in Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Beau Jones.
Entering 2008, Baseball America released its 2011 projected lineup for the Texas Rangers which included "Salty" at first base, Andrus at shortstop, and Feliz as the teams #2 starter. Additionally, Harrison has already made his debut with the big club and projects as a solid back of the rotation starter. Jones is having decent success in the minor leagues, but is a forgotten player in the transaction.
Ron Mahay has since signed with the Kansas City Royals as a free agent and Brett DeVall was selected 40th overall in the 2008 MLB draft as compensation. He is a lefty who already throws three pitches for strikes and is tailor made for the Braves system.
In all fairness to Mark Teixeira, he did his job by chipping in 37 HR and 134 RBI in his 157 games with the Braves. However, it was not enough to propel the Braves into the playoffs and his not being signed to a long term deal is what led to his being moved.
It's not that Casey Kotchman is a bad player either, it's just that his projected value is about equal to Jarrod Saltalamacchia should he end up at first base. As a catcher, his value obviously increases dramatically and he becomes more valuable than Kotchman.
As for Stephen Marek, he's currently 24 and having success in AA. I would say he's as valuable as Beau Jones only Jones is three years younger and playing at the same level.
DeVall, mentioned earlier, is all projection at this point and will need to have significant success to be considered a better pitcher than Harrison. Harrison's only remaining obstacle is success at the major league level. DeVall has years before he will have the opportunity to say that.
This leaves Elvis Andrus and Neftali Feliz in exchange for Teixeira and his Braves career totals of 37 HR and 134 RBI. Andrus came into the season with an APR of 40 overall and is currently posting a .293/.350/.362 line with 43 SB as a teenager in AA. Feliz has joined Andrus in AA after dominating A- ball. The transition has been smooth as his numbers have remained consistent even after skipping a level. In shooting up mid season prospect rankings, he now sits as Baseball America's #12 prospect and Project Prospect's #23 prospect. Feliz was the somewhat of a wild card in this deal and his meteoric rise is what truly takes the sum of the Braves trades from bad to having historically significant implications.
Fortunately, for the Braves, they are spot on when it comes to draft picks and have been able to restock with the addition of players such as Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman. Unfortunately, much of their talent sits in the very low minors leaving a 2-3 year gap in prospects as Jordan Schafer, Brandon Jones, and Brent Lillibridge are struggling mightily.
With the Braves hesitation to spend money and without much help on the way, the Braves are likely to remain a 3rd or 4th place team in the NL East because of this deal for years to come. The Braves of the 1990's never would have let this happen and it makes one wonder about the overall health of the organization.