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The first major deal of 2007 has occurred, and it’s for all of you fan boys down in the “A”.  Some people love this deal, but the typical run of the mill Ranger fan might not understand why the Rangers won this round.  I’ll tell you why.

The Braves Haul

They got their man.  The Braves had long been rumored the favorites for Teixeira after the Rangers reportedly wanted Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain for him.  Cashman scoffed at the offer, and went away.  John Schuerholz then came a knocking. 

Apparently Schuerholz thought he had no first baseman, but I’m here to tell him he did.  Jarrod Saltalamacchia is a fine hitter, and he’s about to become a great one for less than a million.  His starting catcher, Brian McCann, had a great 2006, but 2007 is admittedly not going as well.  Catchers are notorious for breaking down, so why not rotate Salty and McCann from catcher to first?  Apparently that idea wasn’t sufficient, so Schuerholz dealt Salty, Single-A Short Stop Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and another arm to the Rangers for Teixeira and Ron Mahay.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Teixeira is a really good young hitter, and I understand the win now premise, especially with Chase Utley breaking his hand and probably ending the Phillies’ 2007 hopes.  However, even with Tex, the Braves aren’t better than the Mets, and I doubt they can beat out the Cubs-Brewers-Padres-Diamondbacks-Dodgers group for the wild card.  The Diamondbacks appear to be catching fire, and I don’t know if Teixeira is the kind of player who can lead you to the postseason.

Tex’s 2007 EqA is .307, which is certainly good.  His walk rate is increasing, that’s also good.  However, his defense at first has plummeted this year, but chances are, that’s just from his missed time in June/July.  His production is still top-notch.

However, and this is key:  He’s a free agent after 2008.  (I know, hide the children, right?)  That, in of itself, isn’t terribly scary.  But…

His Agent Is Scott Boras!!!  (AHHHHHHH!)

We all know that Boras gets his clients cash, and I do mean cash.  By 2009, just think of who might need first baseman…

Mets.  Yankees.  Red Sox.  Angels.  Cubs, possibly.  White Sox, possibly. 

Uh oh, Braves fans.  Teixeira’s stay in Atlanta might not last as long as you’d probably hope.

The Rangers Haul

I like Jarrod Saltalamacchia.  And it’s not just because of his astronomically awesome last name, either.  Dude can rake.  I’d say Joe Sheehan of BP was correct when he said that Salty can rake at 85% of Teixeira right now.  Now let’s see here…

1.    Salty is dirt cheap right now.
2.    Salty is 22.
3.    Salty can play catcher, and first.
4.    Did I mention he was dirt cheap and 22?

Now, the other players in the deal are unspectacular.  Yes, Elvis Andrus was Baseball America’s pick for the 2nd best prospect in the Atlanta system.  Yes, he is only 19 and at High A.  But just look at his batting line…

.244/.330/.335

That’s bad.  Really, really bad.  Yes, I know, he’s 19 and the scouts go coo-coo for cocoa puffs around him, but the facts are right up there, and they tell me that Elvis Andrus is not developing.

As for Neftali Feliz, well…his first name is pretty darn cool too.  (Jon Daniels knows how to make the guy nervous who has to spell the names on the back of uniforms…and yes, I would make Felix put Neftali on his back.) 

Anyway, Feliz doesn’t have anything terribly wrong or right about him.  He’s 19 too, and it appears the Braves were monitoring him.  At rookie ball, he had 28 Ks with 12 BBs and 16 Hits in 26.1 Innings.  However, it should be noted that this is his second stay at rookie ball, and that’s not a terribly good thing.  

It also included left handed pitchers Beau Jones and Matt Harrison, who recently was shut down with shoulder tendonitis.  That’s a win for the Braves, but I think Feliz could be the kind of guy you regret letting go.  Something about him reads, for me at least, of a good to great middle reliever. 

To Wrap Up

Right this very second, the Braves take the cake.  However, in a few years, the Rangers could really come out looking good on this one.