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Friday, July 27, 2007

BIG TEIX 

Mike DiGiovanna and Ben Bolch:
Though there is an outside chance they could acquire Chicago White Sox outfielder Jermaine Dye, it appears to be Mark Teixeira or bust for the Angels ...

...

Angels first baseman Casey Kotchman would be part of any package to acquire Teixeira, and the Rangers, who had zeroed in on Ervin Santana before the struggling right-hander was demoted to triple-A Salt Lake on July 18, are believed to be comfortable with left-hander Joe Saunders as part of a deal.

But the Rangers want a third player and are scouring the Angels' farm system to determine who to ask for. If Texas wants one of the Angels' elite prospects, such as third baseman Brandon Wood or double-A pitcher Nick Adenhart, trade talks would fizzle. But if Texas would accept a lesser prospect, a deal would be more likely.

The Rangers are also believed to be interested in outfielders Reggie Willits, Nathan Haynes or Terry Evans as the third player in the deal.
Okay, seriously, what is this nonsense?

Now, first of all, Mark Teixeira is an excellent hitter and superb defender. He almost certainly is an upgrade on Casey Kotchman right now (if for no other reason than he's not a platoon player). But how much would he help this team over the balance of the season?

Over his career (four-and-a-half seasons), I estimate Teixeira to be roughly +.035 runs per plate appearance better than the average hitter. The Angels currently use a platoon; in their careers, Kotch is +.005 for his career against RHP and Q is +.037 against LHP.

Now, this isn't entirely fair to Casey, as it includes his disease-plagued 2006 numbers, but, for the moment, let's assume that this represents his true talent level. There are 57 games from August 1 forward, and I think we can safely assume four plate appearances per game. That's 228 plate appearances left to go in the season from the first base spot. With 229 plate appearances, at his career levels, Mark Teixeira would give us around +8 runs above average.

That's right: a whole eight runs.

76% of the Angels' PA this year have come against right-handed pitching, so of the 228 remaining PA at 1B, 173 would go to Kotchman and 55 to Quinlan (Q could of course rack up some appearances at other positions). Based on their career rates, that would give us +1 run from Kotchman and +2 runs from Robb. So three total -- five less than Teixeira: half of a win.

Now, we're almost certainly underselling Kotchman here, possibly overselling Quinlan, and possibly underselling Big Tex. Kotch so far this year is +.045 vs. RHP, Q this year is -.006, and Teixeira overall is +.053. Over 228 PA, that's +12 from Teixeira against +8 from Casey and -1 from Quinlan: that's still a difference of only five runs.

(I know I'm ignoring defense here, but as Kotch and Tex are both Gold Glove contenders, I think that's going to be a wash.)

Now, let's look at some other issues: Teixeira is far pricier than Kotchman. Teixeira is three years older than Kotchman. Teixeira is a free agent after this year 2008, and is considered to be a favorite to bolt for the east coast, from which he hails (a Maryland native, he played college ball at Georgia Tech). Teixeira is represented by Scott Boras, who says stupid crap about Tex being worth $30M per year.

And, oh yeah: this isn't even a straight-up deal, we'd also be asked to give up one of Ervin Santana and Joe Saunders! A team that just lost Bartolo Colon forever and has Santana -- who led the team in wins last year! -- down in AAA to work out his kinks. A team that only has four major league starters at the moment, and if it traded Saunders, might only have three (four once Santana straightens out). How the hell does this seem like a good idea to anybody? We're going to give up one of our few remaining starters and three years of Casey Kotchman to get five extra runs out of Mark Teixeira?! COME ON!

(Now, I know we'd also have Tex next season before he bolted. And maybe Kendry Morales would be ready to step in for him if we didn't re-sign him. I'm just not sure that the difference between Casey and Teixeira next year would be worth the cost, especially given that we'd be down one of our five planned 2008 starting pitchers.)

It doesn't matter, the Braves are gonna top our offer, anyway. I'll be glad to get that monster out of our division.

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Comments:
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