ATLANTA -- Mark Teixeira landed in Atlanta on Tuesday, and
right away there was bold talk in the Braves clubhouse.
"Yes, we've got the team to win the World Series," All-Star
catcher Brian McCann said.
Braves general manager John Schuerholz pulled off three deals
before the 4 p.m. deadline to make trades without waivers. The
biggest was the seven-player swap to get Teixeira from the Texas Rangers.
Atlanta began the day 4½ games behind the New York Mets in the
NL East and in the middle of the wild-card chase. The Braves also
wound up with Kansas City reliever Octavio Dotel and San Diego
reliever Royce Ring.
After three weeks of negotiations, the Braves sent rookie
catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and four minor-leaguers to Texas for
the powerful, switch-hitting Teixeira and left-handed reliever
Rangers owner Tom Hicks said the deal was made only after the
star first baseman and his agent, Scott Boras, turned down an offer
for an eight-year, $140 million contract extension.
"We told Boras that if our offer was turned down, we would
trade Tex now if we received an appropriate offer, or during the
offseason if not," Hicks told The Associated Press in an e-mail.
Teixeira is batting .297 with 13 home runs and 49 RBIs. He has
hit 153 homers in five seasons, setting career highs with 43 homers
and 144 RBIs in 2005.
Teixeira earned his first ovation from Atlanta fans as the
Turner Field video board showed the first baseman, wearing his No.
24 uniform, in the dugout in the bottom of the seventh. Fans
cheered louder after Teixeira waved his hand in response to the
Teixeira, already sweating after taking batting practice in the
team's indoor cage, wasn't used in the Braves' 12-4 win.
Teixeira played at Georgia Tech and his wife, Leigh, is from
Habersham County, near Atlanta. He said those factors, and the
Braves' status as a playoff contender, make him happy to be in
"It's more relief," he said. "You hear a few teams and you're
like you don't want to end up there."
Teixeira was assigned a locker beside Chipper Jones, another
switch-hitter who he said was his favorite player as a high school
"I thought that was the player I want to be," Teixeira said,
adding he wore Jones' No. 10.
Texas also landed slick-fielding shortstop Elvis Andrus and
three pitchers: right-hander Neftali Feliz, left-hander Matt
Harrison and left-hander Beau Jones. Saltalamacchia and Andrus were
rated as the Braves' top prospects before the season.
"The Rangers got a haul," Houston manager Phil Garner said
before Tuesday night's game against the Braves. "But it was a good
deal for both sides."
Atlanta made two more trades to bolster its bullpen, getting
Dotel for pitcher Kyle Davies and the left-handed Ring for pitchers
Wil Ledezma and Will Startup. Ring was assigned to Triple-A
The trades created a confident buzz in the Braves clubhouse.
"We've got a World Series team," shortstop Edgar Renteria
said. "That makes the whole lineup more dangerous. It's
Pitcher Tim Hudson joined the chorus, saying, "Seems like
they're trying to make us win a World Series around here."
Schuerholz faced immediate questions about the chances of
keeping Teixeira, who can be a free agent after the 2008 season.
When asked if it would be worth giving up so many prospects if
Teixeira is in Atlanta for only two years, Schuerholz shrugged.
"I'll think about next year next year," Schuerholz said.
"If we win two pennants it is, or one World Series and one
pennant. We wouldn't have done it if we didn't think it was worth
it. We hope the result is that we win because of it, but there are
no guarantees in baseball," he said.
Teixeira may replace Andruw Jones, hitting .216, as Atlanta's
cleanup hitter. Braves manager Bobby Cox said he wouldn't disclose
those plans before talking with players.
"He's a great middle of the lineup hitter," Cox said of
Teixeira. "He'll be in the middle.
"I think it's as good as it can get. We were hitting the ball
pretty darn good to begin with, but we've got a huge hitter in the
middle now," he said.
The 27-year-old Teixeira may bat behind Chipper Jones, another
Teixeira, making $9 million this year, is eligible for salary
arbitration after this season.
Teixeira is familiar with the Atlanta area, having starred at
Saltalamacchia, a switch-hitter with power, has spent time at
first base this season as the Braves tried to find a way to use his
bat. His strong throwing arm is best utilized at catcher, however.
In Atlanta, Saltalamacchia's path at catcher was blocked by the
23-year-old McCann, who this spring signed a six-year, $26.8
Mahay, 36, is 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA and one save in 28 games this
season. He is an important part of the deal for the Braves, who
were left with no left-handed reliever after Ledezma was designated
for assignment on Sunday.
Saltalamacchia, 22, is hitting .284 with four homers and 12 RBIs
in 141 at-bats.
"You hate to see him go," Cox said. "He's a legitimate big-league catcher right now. ... I like him a lot."
Andrus, 19, is best known for his strong defense at shortstop,
but the Braves are well-stocked at the position with Renteria,
rookie Yunel Escobar and minor-leaguer Brent Lillibridge.
Dotel, a hard-throwing righty, missed most of the first two
months with a strained left oblique. He spoke with Schuerholz
following the trade.
Dotel, 31, is 2-1 with a 3.91 ERA and 11 saves in 14 chances.
Davies, a 23-year-old righty, was 4-8 with a 5.76 ERA for Atlanta.
Dotel signed a one-year, $5 million contract with the Royals,
who will move rookie Joakim Soria into his closer role.
Zack Greinke and David Riske will be the set-up men in a bullpen that
been good enough to help Kansas City post winning records in June
Dotel will be missed, though.
"He's a great kid. He gave us a lot of energy. He's a lot of
fun to be around. We're going to miss him. No doubt about that,"
manager Buddy Bell said before Tuesday's game at Minnesota.
Soria was sorry to see Dotel go but happy to fill his spot.
"It's kind of the same, being a closer and a setup man. The
game is on the line. There's no big difference, but I'll take it,"
said Soria, who had 10 saves when Dotel was hurt and brought a 2.44
ERA and 51 strikeouts in 44 1/3 innings into Tuesday's game.
Davies spent most of the season in Atlanta's rotation before
being demoted to Richmond on July 19.
Ledezma started the season with Detroit and then was traded to
Atlanta. He was ineffective with the Braves and recently designated
The Braves called up catcher Corky Miller from Double-A
Mississippi, giving the team a backup for McCann, and optioned
reliever Chad Paronto to Richmond.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.