Braves get Teix­eira from Texas in trade

Braves ac­quire Teix­eira from Texas in seven-player trade

The Covington News - - SPORTS - By Charles Odum

AT­LANTA — Mark Teix­eira found him­self in a pen­nant race Tues­day, when the At­lanta Braves fi­nal­ized a seven-player trade to ac­quire him from the Texas Rangers.

The Braves sent rookie catcher Jar­rod Sal­ta­la­mac­chia and four mi­nor lea­guers to Texas for the pow­er­ful, switch-hit­ting Teix­eira and left-handed reliever Ron Ma­hay. The two new Braves were not ex­pected in At­lanta for Tues­day night’s game against Hous­ton.

Texas ac­quired Sal­ta­la­mac­chia, slick-field­ing short­stop Elvis An­drus, right-han­der Nef­tali Feliz, left-han­der Matt Har­ri­son and left-han­der Beau Jones.

The swap for Teix­eira is al­ready in­spir­ing com­par­isons to the Braves’ 1993 dead­line trade for first base­man Fred McGriff.

At­lanta trailed the New York Mets by 4 1/2 games in the NL East en­ter­ing Tues­day and is in the thick of the wild­card race. The Mets ended the Braves’ streak of 14 straight di­vi­sion ti­tles last year.

Teix­eira may re­place An­druw Jones, hit­ting .216, as At­lanta’s cleanup hit­ter. He joins a lineup that also in­cludes Chip­per Jones, Jeff Fran­coeur and All-Star Brian McCann, but he won’t come cheaply.

Teix­eira, mak­ing $9 mil­lion this year, is el­i­gi­ble for salary ar­bi­tra­tion af­ter this sea­son and can be­come a free agent af­ter the 2008 sea­son. He is rep­re­sented by agent Scott Bo­ras.

The 27-year-old Teix­eira is familiar with the At­lanta area, hav­ing starred at Ge­or­gia Tech.

Braves gen­eral man­ager John Schuer­holz ac­quired closer Bob Wick­man from Cleve­land on July 20 last sea­son, but this would be his big­gest trade-dead­line deal since July 18, 1993, when he sent out­field­ers Melvin Nieves and Vin­cent Moore and pitcher Don­nie El­liott to San Diego for McGriff.

In 1993, the Braves were 10 games out on July 22 but ral­lied to win the NL West. McGriff, who joined David Jus­tice and Ron Gant to give At­lanta three play­ers with 100 RBIs, was cred­ited with spark­ing the sec­ond-half surge.

The Braves hope Teix­eira can pro­vide a sim­i­lar lift to their hopes of re­turn­ing to the post­sea­son this year.

Sal­ta­la­mac­chia, a switch­hit­ter with power, has spent time at first base this sea­son as the Braves tried to find a way to uti­lize his bat. His strong throw­ing arm is best uti­lized at catcher, how­ever.

In At­lanta, Sal­ta­la­mac­chia’s path at catcher was blocked by the 23-year-old McCann, who this spring signed a six-year, $26.8 mil­lion deal.

Ma­hay, 36, is 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA and one save in 28 games this sea­son. He is an im­por­tant part of the deal for the Braves, who were left with no left-handed reliever af­ter Wilfredo Ledezma was des­ig­nated for as­sign­ment on Sun­day.

Teix­eira, hit­ting .297 with 13 homers and 49 RBIs, would give the Braves a home-run threat at first base they lacked af­ter trad­ing Adam LaRoche to Pitts­burgh in the off­sea­son. Teix­eira, a two-time Gold Glove win­ner, also would be a de­fen­sive up­grade.

Teix­eira missed 27 games this sea­son with a left quadri­ceps in­jury but played in 162 games in 2005 and 2006.

The Braves failed in their at­tempt at a patch­work fix at first base af­ter trad­ing LaRoche. At­lanta’s first base­men rank last in the ma­jor leagues with their .211 bat­ting av­er­age, .270 on-base per­cent­age and .363 slug­ging per­cent­age.

The Braves opened the sea­son with Craig Wil­son and Scott Thor­man split­ting time at first base. Wil­son was re­leased af­ter hit­ting only .172. Thor­man is hit­ting .220 with 10 homers and 34 RBIs, and his fu­ture with the team is un­cer­tain.

Sal­ta­la­mac­chia strug­gled de­fen­sively at first base, a po­si­tion he had not played since high school. The Braves signed 48-year-old Julio Franco on July 18 af­ter Franco was re­leased by the Mets.

Teix­eira has hit 153 homers in five sea­sons. He set ca­reer highs with 43 homers and 144 RBIs in 2005.

Sal­ta­la­mac­chia, 22, is hit­ting .284 with four homers and 12 RBIs in 141 at-bats.

An­drus, 19, is best known for his strong de­fense at short­stop, but he plays a po­si­tion of great depth in the Braves’ or­ga­ni­za­tion.

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