Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Warming up to Kotchman
When I got the call from MLT saying we had dealt Teixeira for Casey Kotchman and a minor league pitcher (Steve Marek), my first reaction was, "That's it?" And then, "who is Marek?" I mean Teixeira is a top 5 first baseman, especially when you factor in his defense, couldn't we get more? But the more I look at the trade, the more it makes sense.
Teixeira's contract runs out at the end of this year, and, since he is a Scott Boras client, he will not sign a new contract until the offseason when Boras can use offers from other teams to raise the asking price. Some offseasons that is not much of a threat, but both the Yankees and Mets will be losing their under-performing first basemen (Giambi and Delgado respectively) after this year. Therefore, the asking price for Teixeira should skyrocket. Rumor has it that the initial numbers from Boras will be 10 years and $230 million. As much as I love Teixeira, I can't love that price tag.
We could have just let Teixeira leave in free agency and picked up the two compensatory picks in the draft, but anyone drafted would have needed a couple of years before they could contribute on the major league level. That would have sabotaged any plans to try and compete next year, which is a must considering the age of some of our key players (Smoltz and Chipper most notably).
So in return for half a year of Teixeira, we get Kotchman and Marek. Kotchman is still young (25), plays great defense, has a good bat, and, most importantly, is still under our control until 2011. While he is a downgrade in terms of power, Kotchman gives us an opportunity to plug in an affordable, major league ready first baseman (of which we do not have in the minors), use the roughly $22 million saved by not signing Teixeira to help upgrade other areas of need, and still contend next year.
Plus it helps that most of the comments from Angels fans were that they were sad to see Kotchman go. I think that's a good sign.