Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Report: Angels Deal Kotchman, Marek For Teixeira
Well: let us see what this is about. Mark Teixeira is a 28-year-old first baseman, who has pretty much come up swinging ever since he hit the majors. He's on the last year of his major league deal (and I believe the final year of arbitration eligibility), so for this trade to work out for the Angels, they'll pretty much have to extend him before the season is over and he hits free agency. It being he is a Scott Boras client, the likelihood of that happening is about zero, as Boras clients inevitably hit the open market. There should be a pretty good market, too, because the Angels would have to bid against the Yankees; recall that Jason Giambi is in the final year of his seven-year deal with the Yanks, and the Mets could use him as well.
Stephen Marek (2008 stats) is having a nice little season with Arkansas this year; he started the season as the Angels' sixth-ranked prospect according to Baseball America. He's posting a career high in K/9 (11.0) with a 57/21 K/BB ratio, and a 1.31 G/F ratio. BA thinks he'd profile as a mid-rotation starter, so he's a fine haul for the Braves.
So this is a very expensive two-month rental, assuming the reporting is correct. Kotchman hasn't posted good power numbers, but prior to this year he's had good on-base percentage and had a reasonable chance of becoming something like Mark Grace, Jr. That's not bad value at all from a first baseman; nevertheless, power is one of this team's big worries moving forward, especially with Vlad apparently in decline. It's not unreasonable to think that Teixeira could command a five year, $100M deal this offseason; whether the Angels will pay that remains to be seen. Also, Teixeira is an east coast boy, and may not want to play for a team on the west coast. We'll see.
Update: Apparently this has been confirmed by the Braves.
Update 2: Perhaps the sudden emergence of Mark Trumbo and the presence of Kendry Morales in AAA made the Angels comfortable enough at the first base position to make them feel they could make this deal. There's some depth at first in the minors.
Update 3: A very ominous note from Jayson Stark:
The Angels didn't ask for a window to negotiate an extension with Teixeira. But it's expected that they'll make a massive effort to sign him to a long-term deal, after trading away their every-day first baseman, and a player they were especially fond of, in Kotchman. Teixeira is a Scott Boras client, however. And early rumblings are that his initial asking price will be in the neighborhood of 10 years, $230 million.
Kotchman is a great player who is under contract for 3 more years. Plus, his dad has been with the organization for over 20 years as a scout and coach.
I have a feeling that Artie, originally an owner of a billboard company, is trying to market the Angels by buying up the best players on the market at the time. Vlad, Colon, GMJ, Hunter, now Tex.
This decision will come back to haunt the Angels
I hate this deal for the Angels. They trade a young, productive, and cheap player who has shown streaky power at a young age for a guy who isn't a huge upgrade right now (though granted, he'll make them better for the rest of this year), who isn't likely to play for the Angels past this season. It also means they've all but given up on keeping Frankie (as I assume they're targeting that salary for Tex).
This is their shot, because the Angels decline phase begins this November.
Of course, with respect to the money, it sure would be nice to have the extra $11 million that's being wasted on GMJr.
And in a worst-case scenario, the Angels get a chance to restock the farm system for once, rather than forfeit picks come free agent time.
Finally, trading for Teix allows them to (re)sign him as a free agent without losing any picks.
- Teixeira strongly increases their odds of winning the WS
- Losing him garners the Angels two compensatory picks
- I suspect Morales is as good as Kotchman
- If not Teixeira or Morales, maybe Rivera can get back to learning 1B, freeing up time for Willits.