According to several blogs, including Baseball Digest Daily, Mark Teixeira is headed to the Angels, in exchange for middling 1B Casey Kotchman and minor-league pitcher Stephen Marek, with perhaps others thrown into the mix.
On the face of it, this looks like Atlanta's not following its usual tendency to hold out for full value, and not dump too much for too little. Of course, with Chipper and Tim Hudson on the DL--to say nothing of the three-way NL East race that doesn't include them--they're done for the season. But Schuerholz usually holds his cards for a bit more, rather than pulling the trigger on a lesser deal.
Plenty of people were salivating for the power-hitting, switch-hitting first baseman, and it's hard to imagine that this was the best deal Atlanta could get. Schuerholz was surely entertaining a slew of deals, but there's not a ton of value here. Kotchman is a 25-year-old with good contact skills, very good defense, and almost no power. He's not as good a contact hitter as Lyle Overbay, but that's about the ceiling I'd put on Kotch.
This has to come as a disappointment to Braves fans, not only because it signifies a resignation of this season, but also of seasons to come. With the Braves conglomerate having also shed its TBS Braves games in favor of national coverage, there will be even more Braves fans leaving the fold.
Is this the beginning of the end for the Braves juggernaut? Or are they retooling in the small-to-mid-market mold of Oakland, Florida, and Tampa Bay? If they are, one wonders what the point of trading for Tex last season was. One year of a rental, where they lost catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and four minor leaguers, getting Tex along with relievers Royce Ring and Octavio Dotel. Dotel is no longer with the team, and Ring has racked up a shocking 7.71 ERA with the club this season. Not a lot of return for that passel of prospects.
If Schuerholz wants to follow the model of Oakland, et. al., he's going to have to maintain a longer view than this. As it is, Atlanta fans may look back on 2007 as the last year they were in contention, for some time to come.
The Angels, on the other hand, have a powerful bat in the middle of their lineup, and become a real force to be reckoned with in the AL. They're running away with their division, but having Tex on their team boosts their postseason chances against the Red Sox.