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A good reason for Padres fans not to worry about trading Adrian Gonzalez

Apr 16, 2010, 3:15 PM EDT

Elvis Andrus.jpgFOX’s Tracy Ringolsby writes today about just how big the Mark Teixeira trade was for the Rangers. As a Braves fan it pains me to no end, but the cold hard facts of it all must be repeated whenever possible:

With Teixeira slightly more than a year from reaching free agency, the
Rangers dealt him on July 31, 2007 to Atlanta for Elvis Andrus, who has become Texas’ shortstop; right-hander Neftali Feliz, the closer; left-hander Matt Harrison who is in the rotation; catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, currently on the disabled list, and minor-league
pitcher Beau Jones, the No. 1 draft pick in 2005.

The addition of that group of players pumped life into a Rangers farm
system that was shaky at the time, and provided a foundation for a young
core for the future. Atlanta, meanwhile, kept Teixeira for 363 days and
dealt him to the Los Angeles Angels for minor-league pitcher Steve
Marek and first baseman Casey Kotchman, who in turn was dealt a year later to Boston for Adam LaRoche, who left
last fall as a free agent.

In my nearly 25 years of Braves’ fandom, this is the only trade that I truly would take back if I could. All of the others either came out in the wash or were mixed bags. This one was an unmitigated disaster and will haunt Braves’ fans for a long, long time.

But you don’t care about my team. The reason I bring it up is because later this year the Padres are going to trade Adrian Gonzalez. When they do, people will moan about big markets and small markets and all that jive.  When they do that, remember the Mark Teixeira trade, because it’s totally repeatable.

Remember: the Braves are a team that, historically speaking, appreciate the
value of young prospects and rarely if ever part with the ones who they
think are going to make something of themselves. Quick: apart from this trade, who was the last guy they traded away who really came back to bite them? Maybe Jason Schmidt, but it’s not like he was needed at the time. Jermaine Dye? Same deal.  The list is so short it’s almost not worth making a list.

But they got burnt here, partially because someone in Atlanta had a brain lock and partially because there was a sharp GM on the other end of the deal in Jon Daniels.

There’s a sharp GM in San Diego now too in Jed Hoyer. All he needs to make the Adrian Gonzalez deal pay off is for one of the 29 other GMs to have a brain lock themselves. 

  1. Jick - Apr 16, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    I’ve missed Adam Wainwright, but JD Drew did what he needed to do at the time, so I guess it’s even.

  2. Fishy - Apr 16, 2010 at 3:35 PM

    How about when Milwaukee sent Big Sexy to the desert?
    Same type of lopsided deal, not so much for what the Brewers got in return, but for how well they timed it, as Sexson fell apart immediately after leaving Milwaukee-
    Sexson was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in December 2003 along with pitcher Shane Nance and a player to be named later (Noochie Varner) for infielders Junior Spivey, Craig Counsell, Lyle Overbay, catcher Chad Moeller, and pitchers Chris Capuano and Jorge de la Rosa. This trade proved to be disastrous for the Diamondbacks, as Sexson missed most of the 2004 season after twice suffering a reverse subluxation of his left shoulder while attempting to check his swing.

  3. ecp - Apr 16, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    And inexplicably, John Schuerholz was the guy that had that brain lock in Atlanta. He is/was also regarded as a sharp guy. For some reason Teixeira simply blinded him.

  4. John - Apr 16, 2010 at 3:54 PM

    That’s a good point. SD does have at least some promising players. An A-Gon trade could really help them turn the corner. Gah, I want the Sox to get A-Gon soooooo bad. I dream about him playing first base for us every single night. But I hate thinking about giving up Casey Kelly.

  5. Stone - Apr 16, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    I’m kind of surprised you’re so openly a fanboy for the Braves on your site. It seems to me that you lose some of your credibility as an objective MLB blogger by constantly calling out your partiality towards the Braves. (Yes, even when you post a bad trade from the past). You should just call the site: Braves Opinions and other MLB Stuff.

  6. Craig Calcaterra - Apr 16, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    Who’s more straight up with fans: the writer who tells you his biases up front and let’s you weigh how much his opinions are influenced by them, or the writer who pretends he has no biases, despite the fact that every human being in the world does?
    Related question: do you really think other baseball writers don’t have rooting interests?
    Related question: can you find an instance anywhere in my archives where my analysis of a given story — as opposed to just my rhetoric — has clearly been colored by my biases? Even when I picked the Braves to win it, I was clear that it may be a fanboy pick right in the headline.

  7. Nick C - Apr 16, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    I think the Wainwright trade is a total disaster for ATL as well. STL got one of the 5 best pitchers in the NL, 3yrs of serviceable work from Marquis and 2 very good years from Ray King. ATL got one very good season from JD Drew who then departed for LA and Eli Marrero a catcher who was better at playing CF and who couldn’t take a walk or stay healthy.

  8. Josh in DC - Apr 16, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    Totally, totally disagree.

  9. Army of Dad - Apr 16, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    I prefer to have your biases out in the open. However, calling Jon Daniels “a sharp GM” will lose you a ton of credibilty with me.

  10. Craig Calcaterra - Apr 16, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    What’s wrong with Daniels? He’s helped build one of the best minor league organizations in baseball and has, for the first time in living memory, assembled a good pitching staff in Texas. All with the specter of bankruptcy floating over the Rangers’ heads.

  11. Bobomo - Apr 16, 2010 at 5:18 PM

    Let’s get through a Texas summer in The Bandbox at Arlington before we start praising pitching in Texas.

  12. Jon S. - Apr 16, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    The Tex trade was great for Texas, but not necessarily awful for Atlanta. Imagine that all those players were still Braves. Only Feliz would have a role.
    Feliz -> fighting for a spot in a fairly crowded rotation or reliever
    Andrus -> blocked by Escobar/Prado
    Salty -> blocked by McCann
    Harrison -> would not crack Atlanta rotation
    Jones -> still in the minors
    One could argue that they’d be trade bait, but that’s what they were to Texas.
    The Wainwright trade kills me because he almost won the Cy Young last year. I’d take that one back before taking back the Tex trade.

  13. James - Apr 16, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    Just because a trade works out for both teams doesn’t mean it was a bad one. JD Drew helped us get to the playoffs so I’m not really sure how that makes the trade a failure.
    Even the Teixeira isn’t that bad. The only person the Braves are really missing is Feliz. Andrus was blocked by Escobar who’s still doing a great job, Salty is blocked by McCann who’s the best catcher in the NL, the other parts of the trade haven’t done anything in the majors yet. The Braves took a shot to win a World Series, and while it didn’t work out, all that ended up happening was that instead of having the best minor league organization, the Braves had a top 10 one. Big whoop.

  14. Nick C - Apr 16, 2010 at 6:07 PM

    You are certainly welcome to view it any way you want. As a STL fan I would trade Drew for Wainwright every year. I do take issue with your statement that McCann is the best catcher in the NL. While he might be the best hitting catcher in the NL, that does not mean that he is the best catcher in the NL. If you were to poll GM’s in the NL I’m sure many would take Molina over McCann. Molina absolutely shuts down the running game in a way that no other catcher in baseball does.

  15. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Apr 16, 2010 at 6:20 PM

    WAR values for the last three years:
    Molina – 1.5, 2.4, 3.4
    McCann – 2.7, 5.7, 4.2
    Granted WAR doesn’t account for defense, so boost Molina’s up a little, but McCann still has a huge edge (19.5 to 8.3 and McCann is missing a year).

  16. GimmeSomeSteel - Apr 16, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    Isn’t this the same Jon Daniels who traded Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young to the Padres for Adam Eaton and other “worthies”?

  17. Tom - Apr 16, 2010 at 9:12 PM

    Quite simply, Daniels made one of the worst trades ever (the Young/Gonzalez for Eaton/Otsuka). He traded a better and cheaper starting pitcher and a top 5 1B for a worse, more expensive starting pitcher and a middle reliever. I’m amazed he held onto his job.

  18. Schlagdawg - Apr 16, 2010 at 10:33 PM

    Ok Craig, got directed to the blog because of the whole “Yankees fans booing” debacle and heard you go on the radio show to defend yourself.
    My question is, if you were born in Michigan, and lived in Ohio, how did you come to be a Braves fan in the first place? TBS?

  19. Craig Calcaterra - Apr 17, 2010 at 12:00 AM

    It’s all TBS. Moved to West Virginia when I was 12. Latched on to the Braves via TBS in 1985. The rest is history.

  20. Josh Turin - Apr 17, 2010 at 1:18 AM

    Mr. Calcaterra: you’re an excellent baseball writer; yes, the ‘biases’ are much better in the open. Does anyone doubt that Peter Gammons is a BoSox fan? Does this impede his writing skills?
    As a Dallas denizen, though, I must add to the chorus: Jon Daniels is a hack GM. The trade of A-Gon to SD (mentioned above) is but one of several preposterous blunders. He also gave away Doug Davis at a time when TEX was DESPERATE for lge-avg SP’s & lets not forget the John Danks/Brandon McCarthy trade. These trades all had one thing in common: they were HORRIBLE when made, based on readily available info. You are a bit hasty ascribing intelligence to the Teixeira trade, too: given the bankrupcy of TEX outgoing ownership, Daniels was most likely ORDERED to trade Teixeira before FA & the horde of talent ATL gave up for him was mostly blind luck, as indeed Schuerholtz WAY overpaid for that rental.

  21. James - Apr 17, 2010 at 2:41 AM

    Wainwright didn’t even crack the Cardinals rotation until 2007.
    I would take a year of JD Drew and his 1000 OPS and the playoffs he helped us get to instead of having a future potential ace pitcher sitting in the minor leagues any day. I’m pretty sure most baseball fans would feel the same way, they tend to like it when their team makes it to the playoffs.
    Like I said it’s a trade that worked out for both teams, and I’m not really sure how you could plausibly argue otherwise.

  22. jwb - Apr 17, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    “In my nearly 25 years of Braves’ fandom, this is the only trade that I truly would take back if I could.”
    Too bad you weren’t on the Braves’ bandwagon a couple of years earlier. This one was a doozy:
    August 28, 1983: Len Barker traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Atlanta Braves for players to be named later and $150,000. The Atlanta Braves sent Rick Behenna (September 2, 1983), Brett Butler (October 21, 1983) and Brook Jacoby (October 21, 1983) to the Cleveland Indians to complete the trade.
    An Atlanta team should never, ever trade a player with a name that sounds anything like Rhett Butler.

  23. JT - Apr 17, 2010 at 1:58 PM

    I too grew up a Braves fan, via TBS, and still relish my Jerry Royster and Rick Mahler autographs. From the time Bobby Cox came back as GM through Schuerholz’s run, Atlanta’s front office has excelled at trading prospects at the peak of their value for (mostly) proven major league players in a position to help the team win. Usually, this is the right approach; any successful fantasy baseball owner will tell you, proven and steady (but less sexy) players often are the key to winning, far more than unproven, talent-laded prospects.
    For that reason, and looking back now, the Drew for Wainwright trade was good for the Braves at the time. They needed power and he provided it. In the long run, I think it’s even worse than the Teixeira deal. Because frontline, ace-caliber SPs are more valuable any 30HR bopper. Again though, at the time, the deal looked good for Atlanta. I doubt any real Braves fan wouldn’t like to have it back, but while he’s no Wainwright, let’s not forget Jair Jurrjens was stolen from the Tigers in a completely lopsided deal in Atlanta’s favor.
    As for the Teixeira trade, Jon S does make a good points about so many of those players having a blocked path. The big name at the time, Salty, is probably going to be the most expendable overall. He will probably never be a starting, full time, MLB catcher, and the Braves, with McCann already, knew that. Perez looks great, but he’s a young fastball reliant reliever. They may get 2 good months or 2 good years or 6 good years from him. Who knows. Never bet on a wildcard, which is all relievers are. The Riveras and Hoffmans are exceptions, not standards. Not even close.
    Harrison and Andrus may be the biggest blows long term. A quality SP never has a blocked path (who wouldn’t take him over Kawakami), and Andrus’ potential is so high… For those reasons, I think this trade could be the one that forever haunts Atlanta, just because they never had a reasonable shot to re-sign Tex. It was a go-for-broke move, and, since Atlanta didn’t get to the Series and wound up with nothing to show for it two years later, they definitely wound up broke. A terrible trade, and a rare misstep from Schuerholz. Given what he accomplished for the Braves though, it’s hard to complain too much.

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