Trade Winds: Teixeira Atlanta-bound
Pending final details, trade deadline's big fish likely caught
After weeks of speculation Mark Teixeira has found a new home in Atlanta.Well, almost. The Braves thought they had an agreement to bring the Texas first baseman to the National League, along with lefty Ron Mahay in exchange for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and a player to be named later. But because the Rangers won't complete their due diligence on the necessary medical reviews until Tuesday, Teixeira is not quite a Brave, though he's clearly got one foot out the door. The Rangers have been given a list of five names to choose from for the player to be named later. On that list is Matt Harrison, a top pitching prospect who felt some left shoulder soreness during Tuesday's start for Double-A Mississippi. The 22-year-old southpaw was evaluated by Braves doctors in Atlanta on Monday. If the Rangers are convinced Harrison is OK, he'll likely be the final piece of this six-player deal. Teixeira, who is batting .297 with 13 homers and 49 RBIs through Sunday, fills a void at first base, gives the club left-handed power and a middle-of-the-order threat to complement the right-handed-hitting Andruw Jones and switch-hitting Chipper Jones. Teixeira's presence could also soften the impact if Andruw Jones departs via free agency after the season. Mahay strengthens the Braves bullpen and gives manager Bobby Cox another late-inning option against lefty hitters. "It makes us a real World Series contender," Braves right fielder Jeff Francoeur said on Monday afternoon. "I think especially in the National League, we now have the best lineup. One through eight, we have hitters that can jack it out of the park and rack up RBIs." The Teixeira deal was the biggest news of the trade season so far and came on the eve of Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET trade deadline, but the Braves weren't the only National League East team that was busy on Monday.
The Phillies acquired right-hander Kyle Lohse from the Reds in exchange for Minor League pitcher Matt Maloney and the Mets plucked second baseman Luis Castillo from the Twins for Minor League catcher Drew Butera and Minor League outfielder Dustin Martin.Castillo gives the Mets a Gold Glove-winning second baseman to fill the hole created when Jose Valentin broke his leg. "We pride our team as being pitching and defense," Mets general manager Omar Minaya said. "Castillo is one of the best second basemen in baseball." Castillo, 31, is batting .304 with nine stolen bases in 85 games. Known for his defensive prowess, the switch-hitter enjoyed his best offensive year in 2002, hitting .305 with 48 steals. A year later, he played an integral role in helping the Marlins win their second World Series title. Lohse gives the third-place Phillies an experienced starter without having to part with any Major League talent. "I'm a little excited, happy to be going to a team in the race," Lohse said. "But I'm disappointed we couldn't get it done [in Cincinnati]." In 21 starts this season, Lohse was 6-12 with a 4.58 ERA and baffled observers with his inconsistency. The 28-year-old had a brilliant 0.77 ERA in the games he won, but he recorded a 7.97 ERA in his losses. "Everybody knew he was going to be a free agent," Reds GM Wayne Krivsky said. "It's somebody that's been on everybody's radar that's looking for a starting pitcher. He's an accomplished starting pitcher that fits in a lot of rotations. There was a lot of interest in him from many teams." The Phillies' third-round pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, Maloney entered this season rated by Baseball America as the ninth-best prospect in the Phillies organization. With Double-A Reading this season, the left-hander went 9-7 with a 3.94 ERA and one complete game in 21 starts. He allowed 117 hits while striking out 115 batters in 125 2/3 innings. He leads the Eastern League in innings pitched and ranks fourth in strikeouts. "He continued to make progress this year with the double jump," said Phillies assistant GM Mike Arbuckle. "He's on a good track, and I think he'll pitch in the big leagues in the not-too-distant future. He's a guy you hate to move. It hurts anytime you lose an arm, but we had to weigh the pros and cons on all these things. Some of the names we've been asked for, we thought this was a deal that was palatable. We have to be aggressive, and you have to give something to get something." The Teixeira deal should send ripples beyond the NL East. Other teams who had been pursuing the slugger, including the Dodgers, Angels, D-backs and Red Sox, will now look elsewhere for a power hitter, which could increase last-minute interest in Cincinnati's Adam Dunn or Jermaine Dye of the Chicago White Sox. Elsewhere on the deadline front Monday: Cardinals: Cards closer Jason Isringhausen told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he would not waive his no-trade clause for any club and wants to stay in St. Louis. "I'm not going anywhere, I don't want to go anywhere," Isringhausen said. The right-hander informed Cards GM Walt Jocketty of his decision over the weekend. Isringhausen has attracted a lot of interest from various clubs looking to shore up their bullpen. He's converted 20 of 22 save chances this season and is sporting a 1.45 ERA. Isringhausen has the right to waive any deal, since he's been in the big leagues for at least 10 years and has been with the Cards for at least five of them. The Cards have an $8 million option on Isringhausen for the 2008 season. The club has already said it doesn't want to trade right-hander Russ Springer, and they recently resigned Ryan Franklin to a two-year deal. Mariners: The Seattle Times reported that the Mariners have sent two scouts to Tampa Bay to monitor closer Al Reyes' performances. Reyes, 28, has 17 saves in 18 chances this year, along with a .193 batting average against. It's unknown who Seattle would dangle to the Rays as bait, but it was reported the Mariners aren't feeling any pressure to make a deal before the deadline and could wait until after Tuesday, when players would first have to clear waivers. Reyes was the Rays' lone closer for the majority of the season, but now there's another option as the Rays traded Ty Wigginton for potential closer Dan Wheeler earlier this week. Marlins: The Marlins have made it known that catcher Miguel Olivo and pitchers Armando Benitez and Byung-Hyun Kim are available. Mets: The Mets' chase for a reliever is in its final stages, with Washington's Chad Cordero and Jon Rauch, Kansas City's Octavio Dotel and Texas' Eric Gagne the leading candidates. Rumors are quietest, ironically, on the starting-pitcher front -- the one area that Minaya was most heavily expected to address before the season started. Red Sox: One day before the trade deadline, GM Theo Epstein is still pursuing relievers like Dotel and Gagne, the latter unlikely because of his limited no-trade rights and desire to remain a closer. Royals: Dotel continues to draw attention from several teams, including the Dodgers, Braves, Mets, Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees and Indians. The Braves, who are believed to be willing to part with Kyle Davies for Dotel, could be the frontrunners to land the right-hander. Tigers: Speculation of several names have come and gone for the Tigers as the trade deadline approaches. The Detroit Free Press reported on five players that the Tigers are most likely to acquire. Not surprisingly, three of them are relievers (Dotel, the Yankees' Kyle Farnsworth and the Astros' Chad Qualls) while two others (the Rockies' Clint Barmes and the Pirates' Jack Wilson) would provide insurance at shortstop in the event of an injury to Carlos Guillen. Twins: After the Twins took two of three from the Indians over the weekend to keep themselves within striking distance in the playoff race, general manager Terry Ryan might have changed from a seller to a buyer. The Twins are in need of a bat and could take a chance on Morgan Ensberg, who was just designated for assignment by the Astros. But Ryan is staying very tight-lipped about his plans and may choose to stand pat before Tuesday's deadline. White Sox: Dye hit a home run in his final at-bat of Sunday's 4-1 loss to the Blue Jays and admitted that that could have been his final plate appearance in a White Sox uniform at U.S. Cellular Field. But like seemingly everyone else, he has no definitive answers yet. While Dye remains the most likely White Sox player to be on the move, it is unclear whether the market will be strong enough for the 33-year-old outfielder to get the high-level prospect that GM Ken Williams is asking in return. Dye has helped to boost his trade value in recent days, hitting .318 with seven home runs since the All-Star break. Jose Contreras, Javier Vazquez or Jon Garland could also be on the move. But manager Ozzie Guillen has repeatedly stated that the White Sox plan to build around a strong starting rotation, and Garland and especially Vazquez have been among the better pitchers in the American League this season.
Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.