Assuming a physical doesn't get flunked, Mark Teixeira is an Atlanta Brave. The addition of the man who made a mockery of 'i before e, except after c' brings a hefty bat to an already stout Braves offense. The Braves receive Teixeira and lefty reliever Ron Mahay while uber-prospect Jarrod Saltalamaccia, pitching prospect Matt Harrison Nestali Feliz, phenom Elvis Andrus and another minor league pitcher go to the Rangers.
The trade makes sense for both teams. The Rangers once again are out of it and are in full dump mode. They were playing The Braves, Angels, Dodgers and maybe Diamondbacks off each other to get the biggest haul, and it appears they did so. They also managed to hold onto Eric Gagne and Joaquin Benoit, who are also in high demand and could net another prospect. Salty is an upgrade over Gerald Laird right now and should at least swipe the backup spot from Adam Melhuse just for his versatility off the bench. Matt Harrison was the Braves' #1 pitching prospect, although he's had shoulder problems this year. Elvis Andrus is an 18 year old shortstop where the sky is the limit. He's very raw but some project him as an all star.
The Braves fill two gaping needs with this trade. First base has been a disaster all year as Craig Wilson flamed out early and the Scott Thorman experiment didn't pan out. Things got so bad, that Julio Franco has been the everyday starter at first (and doing a decent job, if you listen to Bobby) since he was picked up from the Mets. Teixiera is not just a stopgap though, he's a bona-fide star who can be plugged right into the middle of the lineup to protect Chipper. Imagine this lineup:
1: 2b Kelly Johnson/ Yuniel Escobar
2: SS Edgar Renteria
3: 3B Chipper Jones
4: 1B Mark Teixiera
5: CF Andruw Jones
6: RF Jeff Francouer
7: C Brian McCann
8: LF Matt Diaz/Willie Harris
Wow. Even Kyle Davies or Jo Jo Reyes could win a few games with that kind of lineup providing some run support. The Braves also picked up another piece they desperately needed in lefty reliever Ron Mahay. Lefty specialist has been another trainwreck fot the Bravos especially since Mike Gonzalez went down with Tommy John surgery. No other lefty reliever has been very effective for Atlanta and the current owner of that slot, Wil Ledezma, just got designated for assignment.
This is also not just a 2 month rental, Mark is eligible for arbitration next year, and I don't think they will cut him loose like Marcus Giles. Andruw's contract is still up in the air so it may be some lineup insurance for next year in case he bolts. There is a possibility for a long term deal with Mark, since a lot of money comes off the books soon on the Hampton and possibly Andruw deals. The Braves still have holes. Smoltz's arm is being held on with bubble gum, duct tape and a bent paperclip and after Chuck James the rotation is extremely shaky. The bullpen is showing signs of burnout. They are still 4 games back of the Mets, who are set to get Pedro back sooner or later. The Braves may not win the division or even capture the wild card after this deal, but they sure put everyone else on notice.
In honor of this momentous occasion, I have edited Mark's Topps card in the time honored tradition of 1970's airbrushing. Enjoy.
UPDATE: Holy crap, the Braves might also get Dotel for Kyle Davies... Hold out for Greinke, JS!
ANOTHER UPDATE: Apparently the Rangers did end up balking over Matt Harrison's shoulder. Right-hander Nestali Feliz, whom I know absolutely nothing about, goes in his place. I've edited where appropriate.
YET EVEN MORE UPDATES: Maybe Matt Harrison is back in on the deal. Plus another pitcher. Hell, I don't know what's going on. I don't really care, I saw Teixeira in a Braves uni tonight (#24!) so that's all I'm concerned with.