The Braves choice is to compare the net gain from keeping Teixeira to the value of the talent they can acquire for him. If trade rumors are to be believed, there are no teams offering substantial talent for Teixeira (this can, of course, change between now and the July 31 trade deadline). There would be two advantages to trading him for prospects rather than waiting for draft choices. One, as noted above, is that draft choices require signing bonuses. The other is acquiring prospects who have already played, say, 2-3 seasons of minor league baseball gives (for both the Braves and the trading team) a better read on whether they will turn out to be bona fide major league talent. That is, prospects with minor league experience are less risky than newly drafted players who have not yet begun the transition from high school or college to pro baseball.
I would like to address another popular incorrect statement that I keep hearing about the acquisition of Teixeira: that the loss of prospects was a waste unless the team re-signs him. Signing Tex has very little to do with giving up prospects to get him. As a result of his service time, the Braves acquired the right to play Teixeira for 1.5 years. After his indenture expires, he is free to sign with another team. Let’s say the Braves signed him on the free agent market after playing for the Rangers, what would the Braves give up? His salary and the team would lose some compensatory draft picks that would have gone to Texas. What will the Braves give up if they sign him after this season? His salary, and possibly some additional compensatory draft picks for signing with anther team. In both cases, the forgone prospects are irrelevant. The prospects the Braves lost were given up for the time he played with the Braves. Re-signing him has very little to do with them. The only small gain is that he might have been willing to sign for a little less than the free market premium to insure against risk of injury; but considering the fact that his agent is Scott Boras, there was little chance of that happening.
I’ve often heard the Tim Hudson deal discussed in these same terms. The Braves got Hudson for several years for only a few prospects. In fact, the Braves got Hudson for one-year for a few prospects. The Braves signing of Hudson to a long-term deal is a separate issue.