07/31/08 4:05 PM ET
Teixeira in tow, Angels quiet at Deadline
Halos hoping slugger puts them over the top in October
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
Finally, critics who have howled about the Angels' lack of a second big bat to pair with Vladimir Guerrero are silent. Teixeira's bat is about as big as they come.
"Our goal is to win a world championship, to bring a world championship back to the fans of Southern California," Angels general manager Tony Reagins said.
Teixeira arrived with similar aspirations, the bar raised high.
"A World Series, for me, would make this trade successful," he said.
To enhance his club's chances in his debut season as Bill Stoneman's successor, Reagins was vigilant. He exchanged multiple text messages with Braves GM Frank Wren over several days before reaching agreement on the three-man swap.
"It was a roller-coaster ride," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, "but we got it done."
Teixeira, in his sixth Major League season, figures to be among the top two or three prizes in free agency in the upcoming offseason. That was not a major consideration, Reagins said, adding that the Angels did not seek a window to negotiate a new deal with Scott Boras, Teixeira's agent.
"That's a bridge we'll cross when we get to it," Reagins said. "That's something we'll have to pursue when we come to it."
Boras is known to drive a hard bargain, and the belief is it might take something in the $200 million range for as many as 10 years to bring Teixeira into the fold -- especially if the Red Sox and Yankees join in and drive the bidding into the stratosphere.
Guerrero has never had a teammate hit 30 homers in a season. Teixeira, with 20 in 103 games with the Braves, is positioned to do it for the fifth season in a row while getting his usual 100-plus RBIs.
Since seizing the 2002 World Series title with a blend of power, speed and pitching, the Angels have lost two of three postseason series, winning four games while dropping 12. That made the natives restless, concerned that a roster that played well for six months didn't have enough power to muscle its way through three October opponents.
The Angels had attempted to land Teixeira before the Trade Deadline in 2007, when the Rangers had him on the market. They offered Kotchman, a starting pitcher -- Joe Saunders or Ervin Santana -- and an unnamed prospect. The Rangers settled on a five-prospect proposal from the Braves, who also got left-handed reliever Ron Mahay in the Deadline deal.
Teixeira excelled down the stretch for the Braves, batting .317 with 17 homers and 56 RBIs in 54 games. Atlanta fell short of the postseason but elected to make another run this season. The Braves put Teixeira back on the market when they began to lose contact with the leaders in the NL East.
The D-backs were believed to be the early leaders in the Teixeira sweepstakes, but they balked when the Braves insisted on the inclusion of Conor Jackson in the deal.
Throwing caution to the wind, the Angels made their move even though they had Kotchman -- arguably their most valuable player this season -- under contract through the 2011 season.
Teixeira, delighted to be with a winning team, politely requested that questions about his future plans be deferred to the end of the season -- hopefully, in early November.
"There will be a time for that," he said. "I don't want to do anything to take the focus away from my team and my teammates."
After tying this blockbuster together, Reagins hinted that he might not be done. The Angels could use a left-handed specialist for the bullpen, but most fans finally would admit that they'd done enough in landing that elusive big bat.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.