When I heard that the Braves had traded Mark Teixeira to the Angels for Casey Kotchman and Stephen Marek my first thought was, “that sounds about right.” And, upon further reflection, I still think that. Teixeira is an excellent player—no matter what DOB says—but he’s only controlled by his team through the end of the season. Teams just aren’t going to give up a lot for a near-term upgrade.
Kotchman looks to be a decent but frustrating player. In fact, this season looks quite similar to Jeff Francoeur‘s 2007. And fortunately for the Braves, a good season for Jeffy is a down season for Kotchman. Kotchman really doesn’t have the bat to be a good first basemen, but he’ll do. Could he develop into something more? Possibly, but I doubt it. He’s better than any other internal options that the Braves have. Please, don’t mention Freddie Freeman or Jason Heyward; they’re in low-A ball. And while we’re on the subjects of prospect hype, Jordan Schafer is stinking up the joint in Mississippi.
Marek is on the path to being a major-league reliever. His stats are good, but relievers are difficult to judge. I think he’ll be useful, and he has a chance to have a few good years in him.
In summary, I think Frank Wren got about all he could in the deal. First base is taken care of for a few years, but you won’t feel bad moving him if something better comes along. Also, you get some potential cheap relief help, which is always nice to have. I expect that the Braves will sign a free agent or two in the offseason. If Tim Hudson needs UCL replacement, then the Braves will have to go after a good starting pitcher if they want to compete next year.
Think of Mark Teixeira’s year with the Braves as a Whitman’s Sampler of chocolates. Though it’s good, the Braves ate most of it. A sour quince log and a dark chocolate rum cherry just isn’t going to get you much.