FOX’s Tracy Ringolsby writes today about just how big the Mark Teixeira trade was for the Rangers. As a Braves fan it pains me to no end, but the cold hard facts of it all must be repeated whenever possible:
With Teixeira slightly more than a year from reaching free agency, the
Rangers dealt him on July 31, 2007 to Atlanta for Elvis Andrus, who has become Texas’ shortstop; right-hander Neftali Feliz, the closer; left-hander Matt Harrison who is in the rotation; catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, currently on the disabled list, and minor-league
pitcher Beau Jones, the No. 1 draft pick in 2005.
The addition of that group of players pumped life into a Rangers farm
system that was shaky at the time, and provided a foundation for a young
core for the future. Atlanta, meanwhile, kept Teixeira for 363 days and
dealt him to the Los Angeles Angels for minor-league pitcher Steve
Marek and first baseman Casey Kotchman, who in turn was dealt a year later to Boston for Adam LaRoche, who left
last fall as a free agent.
In my nearly 25 years of Braves’ fandom, this is the only trade that I truly would take back if I could. All of the others either came out in the wash or were mixed bags. This one was an unmitigated disaster and will haunt Braves’ fans for a long, long time.
But you don’t care about my team. The reason I bring it up is because later this year the Padres are going to trade Adrian Gonzalez. When they do, people will moan about big markets and small markets and all that jive. When they do that, remember the Mark Teixeira trade, because it’s totally repeatable.
Remember: the Braves are a team that, historically speaking, appreciate the
value of young prospects and rarely if ever part with the ones who they
think are going to make something of themselves. Quick: apart from this trade, who was the last guy they traded away who really came back to bite them? Maybe Jason Schmidt, but it’s not like he was needed at the time. Jermaine Dye? Same deal. The list is so short it’s almost not worth making a list.
But they got burnt here, partially because someone in Atlanta had a brain lock and partially because there was a sharp GM on the other end of the deal in Jon Daniels.
There’s a sharp GM in San Diego now too in Jed Hoyer. All he needs to make the Adrian Gonzalez deal pay off is for one of the 29 other GMs to have a brain lock themselves.
In a special for USA TODAY Sports, Mike Vorkunov details how six teams — the Mets in particular — provide an education program that helps their Dominican prospects earn high school diplomas. It seems like an obvious win-win: smarter players make smarter decisions, making them more likely to achieve their potential as athletes. That, of course, requires spending money, which is why only six teams make the investment. For the players, if baseball doesn’t work out, they are better able to support themselves in other ways.
Vorkunov lists the Pirates, Tigers, Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Mariners as the other teams who provide an education program for their Dominican prospects. We learned earlier this month that the Phillies were also investing in making sure their minor leaguers eat healthy. As Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “few teams” supply their minor league players with healthy food options.
Juan Henderson, the head of the Mets’ Dominican academy, said, “We see the benefit of it. I gotta tell you, we’re working with a new generation of baseball players. You see in the past that players just carry a bat and a glove and a helmet on the baseball field and in the academy. Those years, I think, are going to be pretty much over. Now they also do that, but they also carry books, they also carry an iPad, they also carry a laptop.”
Kudos to the six teams for making a great decision and here’s hoping the other 24 teams follow suit.
Angels first baseman Albert Pujols cranked out a two-run home run in the third inning against Rangers starter Derek Holland, breaking a scoreless tie. It’s the ninth homer of the season for Pujols and the 569th of his career, putting him into a tie with Rafael Palmeiro for 12th on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard.
Harmon Killebrew is Pujols’ next target at 573, followed by Mark McGwire at 583 and Frank Robinson at 586.
Pujols hadn’t homered since May 13. He entered Monday night hitting a mediocre .228/.309/.395 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 188 plate appearances.
Monday has unfortunately been a day of injury news. Royals outfielder Alex Gordon is the latest to hit the 15-day disabled list, as he has been diagnosed with a fractured scaphoid bone in his right wrist. The club has recalled infielder Cheslor Cuthbert from Triple-A Omaha.
Gordon suffered the injury colliding with third baseman Mike Moustakas attempting to catch a fly ball on Sunday afternoon. He is expected to miss three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports.
Gordon was having a tough 2016 campaign and the injury only makes it worse. He’s hitting .211/.319/.331 with four home runs and 10 RBI in 166 plate appearances on the year.
The Royals will likely use Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando in left field in Gordon’s absence.
The Orioles announced on Monday night that the club has traded reliever Brian Matusz to the Braves in exchange for minor league pitchers Brandon Barker and Trevor Belicek. The Braves are also receiving a Competitive Balance Round B pick (76th overall) in the 2016 draft.
Matusz, 29, made his season debut on April 23 after battling a back injury since early March. It’s been a struggle, as the lefty has yielded eight runs on 11 hits and seven walks with just one strikeout in six innings. He is earning $3.9 million and can become a free agent after the season.
MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports that the Braves are expected to designate Matusz for assignment. Essentially, the Braves bought the draft pick for Matusz’s remaining salary of $3 million of $3.9 million total.
Barker, 23, has been pitching at Double-A Mississippi after getting a taste of Triple-A last year. So far this season, the right-hander has a 2.00 ERA with a 40/12 K/BB ratio in 45 innings spanning eight starts and a relief appearance.
Belicek, a 23-year-old left-hander, has spent most of the year with Single-A Rome, compiling a 2.49 ERA with a 29/1 K/BB ratio in 25 1/3 innings over 11 relief appearances.