Surprisingly little has been made of Mark Teixeira facing his old team in the ALCS, perhaps because he had stints with the Braves and Angels in between going from the Rangers to the Yankees.
Selected by Texas with the fifth overall pick in the 2001 draft, Teixeira hit .283/.368/.533 with 153 homers and 499 RBIs in 693 games for the Rangers. In the middle of his fifth season in Texas he reportedly turned down an eight-year, $140 million extension offer, at which point the Rangers traded Teixeira to the Braves on July 31, 2007 for a five-prospect package that included Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Matt Harrison, and Beau Jones.
At the time Saltalamacchia was viewed as the centerpiece of the Rangers’ haul, while Feliz and Andrus were high-upside teenagers at Single-A. Four years later Feliz is one of the best closers in baseball and may win the Rookie of the Year award, Andrus is an elite defensive shortstop and the Rangers’ leadoff man … and Saltalamacchia is trying to resurrect his injury wrecked career with the Red Sox.
Teixeira played well for the Braves, hitting .295/.395/.548 with 37 homers and 134 RBIs in 157 games spread over 1.5 seasons before they traded him to the Angels in July of 2008 for Casey Kotchman and Steve Marek. He played 54 games for the Angels, batting .358/.449/.632 with 13 homers and 43 RBIs, and then hit the open market as a free agent and signed a $180 million deal with the Yankees.
After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.
According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.
Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.
Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.