Now that we’re through the All-Star break, we look forward to see what the Braves plans are for pursuing the NL East crown. Obviously, the biggest story is whether the Braves will trade Mark Teixiera or hold onto him to make a charge at the division. The Braves currently sit 6.5 games out of first place in the East and 7.5 games out of the wild-card lead. The rumors being reported are that the Red Sox are potentially interested in Teixiera. In that situation, the Braves clearly want a serviceable 1B, which more than likely would have to be Kevin Youkilis. The Braves probably would also want a stud prospect as they traded away a lot of young prospects to get Teixiera from Texas last year. These are the Braves possible options for Teixiera:
(1) Trade him at or before the trade deadline and hope to get a 1B/young prospects out of the deal.
(2) Hold onto him for the rest of the year and take your chances with free agency next year. It is rumored that the bidding from Scott Boras, Teixiera’s agent, is gonna border on the $20+M/year total contract value at ~$180M. If the Braves can’t resign him, they will receive compensatory draft picks from the club that does.
(3) Trade him for a firestorm of prospects similar to how he was acquired last year.
I believe scenario 3 will only happen if the Braves hit the 10 games out mark before the trade deadline. This would essentially be the first time the Braves have waved the white flag since the late 1980’s. I think as long as they are within 6-8 games out of first place, this scenario won’t happen.
Scenario 2 is one that I’m not too confident that Braves should pursue. I just feel like Teixiera will be too willing to go home to Baltimore or to one of the New York teams because they will likely make him an offer he can’t refuse and the Braves aren’t known for running up the bidding wars (Unless your name is Greg Maddux and it’s 1996. I would argue the Braves are partiallly responsible for the money Barry Zito got paid because they put such a premium on good starting pitching in the 90’s.)
Scenario 1 is the one I’m most open to if the Braves are still in the hunt at the deadline. But only if they are assured Kevin Youkilis in a deal with the Red Sox. My opinion is the Braves won’t have much of a chance to resign Teixiera next year, even though the removal of Smoltz, Glavine, and Mike Hampton from the roster will clear about $37M in cap space to attempt and resign Teixiera. But as I stated earlier, I don’t think the Braves will stick around in a bidding war. Now, if the Braves get Youkilis and a young prospect I think it’s a deal they have to make. It will be much easier to resign Youkilis for next year and with him you don’t have that huge of a drop-off at the plate or in the field. As much as I’d hate to see Tex go, I just think this is the best deal to be made based on the information available to the public. Maybe Tex really wants to stay in Atlanta and is willing to be reasonable, but with Scott Boras in the fold I just don’t see a future with him in Atlanta.