Teixeira to Braves: Now What?

So it’s only a matter of time before the Mark Teixeira trade to the Braves becomes official. Now what?

How about this: nothing.

While the Braves are about to acquire one of the elite hitters in the American League, the biggest fish the Mets appear to be after is a hobbling, aging, Luis Castillo. The rumor is that the Twins probably want Kevin Mulvey + another prospect in return, and I’m not even sure that’s a fair trade for a guy who may not be a better alternative to Ruben Gotay right now. The way Gotay has been hitting, my guess is that Omar Minaya will wait and see if he cools off, and then go after Castillo after the deadline — much the way he waited for Lastings Milledge to prove he wasn’t the answer last year, and then plucked Shawn Green.

So I think we’re all in agreement that at this moment, Castillo is not a player the Mets need to get, unless he can be obtained for minor leaguers with less upside than Mulvey. Mulvey may not be any kind of lights-out prospect — his ceiling is similar to Brian Bannister’s — but I still wouldn’t deal him for Castillo — not when Tadahito Iguchi was dealt for a nondescript AA middle reliever. Tell the Twins they can have Lino Urdaneta or Robert Parnell, or they can let Castillo limp away at the end of the year — because no one else in MLB is clamoring for him at the moment.

Other than Castillo, who / what do the Mets have in their sights? There don’t appear to be any second basemen on the block who will definitely outperform Gotay — except maybe Mark Loretta. The best starting pitcher available is Jose Contreras, and he wouldn’t significantly upgrade the Mets’ rotation. The best available middle reliever has already been traded — Scott Linebrink — so if the Mets want bullpen help they’ll have to overpay for Chad Cordero or Eric Gagne (which probably won’t happen). The only other place the Mets can consider an addition is the outfield, and we keep hearing about Jermaine Dye. A month ago, Dye was a question mark due to his leg injuries and poor performance. However, he’s healthy and hitting now, and could be a fine complement to the lineup. But then again, with Lastings Milledge battering the ball — particularly in the clutch — can you really squeeze Dye in? Maybe if Shawn Green goes the other way in the deal, but then you’d have a suddenly righty-heavy lineup.

All things considered, perhaps the best thing for the Mets to do is stand pat. After all, once Moises Alou gets his timing back, he’ll be as good or better than Dye might be. And if he doesn’t, it appears that Milledge is ready to steal a job from him or Green — maybe Green and Alou become platoon partners.

Only one thing has me concerned — the Carlos Beltran injury. For all we know, Beltran is more seriously injured than the Mets are letting on, because of the trading deadline. His “strained stomach muscle” may actually be a strained or torn oblique, which would require several weeks of recovery time. If word got out about the true nature of his injury, the price for Dye would triple. How confident are you with an everyday outfield consisting of a questionable Alou, a regressed Green, and a streaking Milledge? Remember, Endy Chavez and Carlos Gomez are not returning anytime soon, so the best alternatives are David Newhan, Ben Johnson, and Ricky Ledee.

The next 17 or so hours should be interesting.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. sincekindergarten July 30, 2007 at 12:26 pm
    I seem to recall that Newhan is already with the big club. I think that L Millz is doing alright, now that he’s been given the chance to play every day. We really don’t have an alternative to standing pat, do we?

    Also, what about Caleb Stewart at Binghamton? Would they–could they?–reach down that far to fill the outfield?

  2. Walnutz15 July 30, 2007 at 1:13 pm
    They showed Newhan in the dugout, just before cutting to the Rain Delay episode of ‘Raymond’ — on Channel 11; so rest assured, the big man is back. *rolls eyes*

    Anyway — what do you fellows think the Braves chances are, of keeping Mr. Tex?

    I think he’ll be there for years to come, but have been told otherwise by many posters on Scout.com, citing that “Schuerholz and Co. have submitted their retirement papers with this move — he’ll walk.”

    Am I the only guy who remembers Teixeira’s studly numbers down in GEORGIA TECH?

    Or am I imagining them?

    Personally, I think they just bought themselves a cloned Chipper Jones, hello prime years in Atlanta.

    What’s your thoughts?

  3. joe July 30, 2007 at 1:30 pm
    Whether Teixeira leaves depends on 1. Scott Boras remaining his agent; 2. the depth of the new Braves’ owners’ pockets; 3. Scott Boras remaining his agent; and 4. Scott Boras remaining his agent.

    I think they’re approaching this deal much the same way their acquisition of JD Drew (born in Valdosta, GA) some years back — get the bat now, worry about retaining him later.

    There’s no doubt Teixeira will hit the market when his time comes, assuming Boras is his agent. At which point Boras will get the Mets, Orioles, Red Sox, and Yankees to bid against Atlanta and drive up the price.

  4. isuzudude July 30, 2007 at 1:37 pm
    There’s no doubt Teixeira makes the Braves a better team, and whatever trade sends him to Atlanta makes me nervous knowing Eric Gagne may be coming along as a traveling buddy. Whether Teixeria stays in Atlanta after this season is anybody’s guess, but the major thing is with his acquisition the Braves are likely better than the Mets in 2007, meaning we’re no longer a lock for the Nl East crown.

    So how do we improve ourselves? I think everything Joe said in the article above is dead-on. Bringing in a 2B isn’t a top priority b/c Gotay and Easley can do the job just as well as anyone else we acquire. A starting pitcher isn’t necessary and likely would cost us too much. A relief pitcher is very necessary, but again everyone servicable on the market comes with a high price tag. And then you can try and land an OF (Dye, Payton, Winn) but if Alou, Beltran, and Green are all swinging the bats well, and Milledge and Chavez are on the bench, there’s simply no room at the inn for all those bats. The hang-up lies with Beltran’s injury, and just how serious it may be. If he’ll be good to go in another week, then there’s no rush for help. But if Joe is right and the Mets aren’t tipping their hand prior to the trade deadline, then you gotta make a move knowing a decrepid Alou, a young and inexperienced Milledge, and a slumping Green hold the everyday OF duties. But who ever you acquire, he’s gotta be able to play CF, b/c Alou and Green can’t do it at this stage of their careers, and Milledge is more a back-up option for Alou and Green than a long-term replacement option for Beltran. That’s why I think Dye is out of the picture. He’s no centerfielder. Jay Payton or Randy Winn could help temporarily, could come relatively cheaply, and could both be nice pinch-hitting options if Alou, Beltran, and Green gel again.

    There’s no easy answers to the Mets problems…heck, we can’t even determine what the team’s needs even are, forget how to fill them. But if I were to rank them, again I’d say bullpen help is paramount, but if you can’t land anybody good without parting with two of the top level prospects, then a back-up OF is second on the list. Starting pitching and 2B come in distant 3rd and 4th, and a female companion for Mr Met 5th.

  5. Walnutz15 July 30, 2007 at 1:39 pm
    True — he’s a Boras guy, and those guys get paid, regardless.

    However, I just feel that if there’s a “sweetheart deal” to be had, it’s with this organization (not the Mets, the Braves). This could be the cynical Met fan in me, but I see the planets aligning with this deal.

    The Braves have a bunch of like-minded younger studs, and all of them seem to be genuinely excited by Teixeira’s arrival. We’ll see how much of a lift this gives them in the Dog Days — and actually, I don’t even see the Braves being done dealing yet.

    They HAVE to follow up with a deal for a starter. I bet they do.

    Anyway, with regard to what they gave up….what do you see Saltalamacchia becoming in Texas — Joe?

  6. Micalpalyn July 30, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    1. If its true I for one like it. Mets give up virtually nothing, but Castillo can preview his worth before FA. Plus he can platoon with Gotay, He has speed, PLUS Easley goes back to the bench.

    2. Tex does not concern me. I believe in the addage good piching beats good hitting. Thank goodness for injuries!! Lastings is playing really well. When I saw runners on base, less than 2 out I knew lastings would put the ball somewhere good.

    3. Now its also my believe Omar has his hands in on a starter. THAT’s why Mulvey does not go for Castillo. Mulvey and Pelfrey for Haren? Humber pitches tonight.

  7. joe July 30, 2007 at 3:15 pm
    Walnutz, my guess is that Salty will step right in and start at first base for Texas and do OK, while the Rangers find a way to dump Gerald Laird and find a real first baseman. Too bad they didn’t still have Adrian Gonzalez, eh?

    Maybe they trade Laird to the Mets for Mike Carp in the offseason, and he becomes Ramon Blastro’s backup next year.

    Eventually, Saltalamacchia becomes a solid defensive catcher with 15/70/.285 potential. Not another I-Rod, but a LoDuca with more power. Was that worth Teixeira? Hmmm … but they did also get a good arm and a SS prospect, who might get flipped.

  8. isuzudude July 30, 2007 at 3:20 pm
    WHAT? Can I ask why Oakland would give up a 12-3 Haren when he’s locked up through 2009 at the bargain price of $12.65 million??? And then only get Mulvey and Pelfrey in return??? It’s true, the A’s may be sellers, but they have NO desire to get rid of Haren so let’s get real.

    Maybe you can do Mulvey and Pelfrey for Garland or Contreras, but even that’s a stretch. And I have no interest in getting either of those two Sucky Sox.

  9. Micalpalyn July 30, 2007 at 3:51 pm
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/ is reporting that Joe Blanton is the player being discussed.
    But from a historical perspective, Atlanta received Hudson, for Charles Thomas Juan Cruz and Dan Meyer. Meyer isd the only player in that group still with Oakland and he is coming back from arm surgery.

    Anyway: Omar is the one who gets to make the trades. Interesting that your “I must give up the world theory’ is rebuffed by the
    example exhibited in the Iguchi, and now Castillo trades. The ultimate question is what does Williams/and Beane want and what are they ultimately planning for the future.

    Yes you are correct Isu: The deal would have to have more BUT I insist Pelfrey is a top flight starting pitcher in his SECOND yr of pro ball, he is healthy and very much comparable to Haren at the time HE was traded….for the same reason. Beane can get 3 for one (as usual) Pelfrey, Mulvey and an AA prospect (Carp?) I doubt seriously it is totally out of the question. Plus CWS have little pressure and the A’s using these 3 players could be contending again in 2 yrs.

  10. isuzudude July 30, 2007 at 4:00 pm
    Ok, Joe Blanton is a more realistic option, if you’re talking Pelfrey and Mulvey.

    Remember, Hudson was entering a contract year when the A’s traded him, and they dealt him to Atlanta b/c they knew they couldn’t afford him, which gave the Braves leverage in the deal to not give up the world in return. But in Haren’s case, he’s not a free agent until 2011 w/ an option in ’10 and is hardly costing Oakland any money at $12.65 million. The only way he moves in a trade involving the Mets is if Wright or Reyes is involved.

    By the way, if you think Pelfrey is going to pan out to be ‘a top flight starting pitcher,’ why are you looking to trade him at all? Keep him and plug him into Glavine’s spot when he retires. Now you have a cheap 15 game winner for the next 2-4 years, at least. Although why you think Pelfrey will be so good is beyond me, but we’ll address that issue some other time…

  11. Micalpalyn July 30, 2007 at 4:17 pm
    The issue (repeat) is timing.

    Bonderman was a bonafide top flight pitcher, but the Yanks could not wait. Wainright, Haren et al were all dealt by teams who expected to contend. This met team cannot afford to wait for Pelfrey to put it all together. He needs a permanent ML address and Pelfrey has not shown he can be Verlander and walk into a contending rotation.

    He needs to be with an Oakland or Minnesota that can have that ‘patient’ approach. On the flip side I wonder what TB might want for Kaz?

  12. joe July 30, 2007 at 9:19 pm
    You meant the A’s when you stated Yanks, right?

    TB would be insane to trade Kazimir — unless they can get two or more arms in return. Or unless they’re genuinely not interested in winning, ever.