Angels Trade Casey Kotchman and Stephen Marek to Atlanta for Mark Teixeira

“Finally, you really did it! You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you! God damn you all to Hell!”

Charlton Heston
Planet of the Apes

Would you trade fifteen years for three months?

That’s what the Angels may have done today when they swapped Casey Kotchman and Stephen Marek to the Atlanta Braves for Mark Teixeira.

The switch-hitting Teixeira has been one of the more prolific power hitters in the major leagues during his career. He hit 43 homers in 2005 and 33 in 2006 for Texas. After hitting another 13 for Texas in 2007, he was swapped to the Braves on July 31 for a boatload of prospects.

Teixeira didn’t do the Braves much good, which should be a warning to those who think flushing the farm system for a “name” somehow guarantees a world championship. (Believe me, those people are out there. Read the fan boards.) Not his fault, but individuals don’t win championships. Teams do.

So trading Casey Kotchman, one of the best young hitters in the game, along with bullpen prospect Stephen Marek for Teixeira strikes me as giving in to all those instant gratification people who scream “Win NOW!!!” without thinking about what happens next year and beyond.

Teixeira, 28, is a free agent at season’s end. His agent is Scott Boras. Teixeira didn’t sign an extension with the Braves, his hometown team, so why should we think he’ll sign an extension with the Angels?

If the Angels had been patient, in another few months they could have signed him on the open market. If successful, they could have then traded Kotchman for whatever they could get.

Does Teixeira guarantee a world championship? Of course not. He never won one with the Rangers, and he didn’t win one with the Braves. Again, not his fault, but one player does not make a champion.

Even if the Angels do manage to sign Teixeira to an extension, all they did was acquire him for two months and the post-season. Was it worth Kotchman and Marek? Did swapping Kotchman for Teixeira somehow significantly increase the statistical probability of winning the World Series? Of course not.

The post-season is pretty much a crap shoot. Some among fandom and the press have insisted the Angels could not win the World Series without a second “big bat” to complement Vlad Guerrero, our own version of Boston’s David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. Yet the Angels won their seventh in a row tonight against Boston, which is slumping in the A.L. East, and all seven were achieved without that “big bat.” In fact, Boston might not even reach the post-season.

Casey Kotchman was about as “Angel” as they come. I can’t imagine him leaving for free agency. His dad, Tom Kotchman, is the most successful manager active in the minor leagues and is revered throughout the Angels system. Casey was raised in the organization from birth. He hung out with his dad during summers in Edmonton and Boise. If anyone was raised to be an Angel, it was Casey. And he’ll be far more affordable than Teixeira for at least the next five years, maybe longer.

Should Teixeira leave, the Angels will have to acquire another 1B on the free agent market, trade for one, or hand over the position to Kendry Morales. They will have lost Kotchman for three months of Teixeira.

The Angels already had the best record in baseball. Their divisional lead was already over ten games. This trade was wholly unnecessary to reach the post-season. Does having Teixeira instead of Kotchman at first base during the playoffs make that big of a difference to justify renting him?

Color me skeptical.

But the instant gratification crowd finally got their wish. After all those years of patience and wisdom under Bill Stoneman, the Angels finally gave in and made a knee-jerk trade sacrificing the future for the present.

I wonder what they’ll say if the Angels don’t win the World Series and Teixeira leaves.


  1. ruppert

    “Should Teixeira leave……… They will have lost Kotchman for three months of Teixeira.”

    They would’ve lost Kotch for three months of Tex and two draft picks, unless I’m misstaken.

    My final judgment on this trade will be contingent on two things. 1) did the Angels win the 2008 World Series. And 2) whether Tex signs with the Angels. If he does sign then this will be a considerable upgrade for the Angels longterm. One worth the cost. I like Kotchman but even with him the team slg % is at .400. The swith hitting Tex provides power and some lineup agility. His glove is slightly better than Casey’s. If Arte’s gonna spend millions on the likes of Jeff Weaver and Mathews jr. then might as well open up the vaults for someone who can actually play this game well.


  2. valpo86

    You’re exactly right with this analysis. It’s hard for me to believe that Kotchman is gone and has been replaced with a man who was hitting home runs against us just over a year ago.

    The instant gratification crowd is the same group that started following the Angels when they finally became good. And they’ll be the first to leave when the Angels start to decline.

    It seems that Arte Moreno continues to pander to this instant gratification crowd by signing the biggest name on the market year after year. It’s hard to watch as the team that I love becomes the Yankees of the West Coast.

    I suppose we need to remember that this is a business and they are in it to make money. But what is the fun in winning a World Series that has been bought? 2002 was great because it was won by a groups of guys we watched develop. If we win in 2008 I think it’s going to be a little less exciting.

  3. scareduck

    Not a very good trade. It’s hardly clear that Teix will be the answer to the Angels’ power issues, though he does provide decent insurance for Vlad over the remaining two months of the season. In any event, it does seem likely that the Angels’ moment is now, because the outfield will be a mess (the team is almost certain to be without GA’s services next year, Vlad will be even less valuable, and Juan Rivera is going to be a free agent), the rotation will be minus Jon Garland, Frankie Rodriguez will probably be lost to free agency … 2009 is going to be a hard year for the Angels to swallow.

    The 2001 Mariners won 116 games, and looked for the world like the class of the AL that year. They didn’t get past the ALDS.

  4. califangels

    I say “Win by your team or lose by your team”. Stop trying to win with your payroll. Kotchman is baseball not just the Angels. What the Angels need more than anything for long term success of the franchise is Tradition. Kotchman is tradition.


    I am not too happy with the trade for a few slefish reasons,along with a few practical ones. First,Steve Marek lived with my family while he was with the Quakes,and we are close to him.We wanted to see him become an Angel someday. And as far as Casey goes,in my eyes anyway,he was going to be the next “Mr. Angel”,ala Tim Salmon. Casey was on his way to becoming a big time player. He might not have ever hit 40 hrs,but the halos are winning. We dont play the long ball game. If I remember correctly, in 2002, we won it all by playing small ball. Now the questions begin- Will we win the world series? Who are we going to re up, Mark or Frankie? And the win now crowd,the ones who never went to a halo game before 2002, lets see how this works out. It did not work for the Mets or Baltimore in the past.


    If Kotchman cared about self-promoting and personal stats (which he doesn’t), he would love this trade. He will tear up the National league and probably hit 30-40 dingers in that launching pad in Atlanta!

    Good for him, bad for us!

  7. luvdahalos

    This trade made me sick and then it made me excited and then made me a little sad until I had time to think about it.

    Casey is an true Angel and will be missed, but we have to get past the emotions of losing family and look st the facts. Casey ranks 21 of 25 eligible 1B for OPS in MLB. He is 16th in RBI’s 18th in HR’s and 20th in OBP. He is a very average or below average 1B at the plate.

    Plain and simple Tex is hands down a better player. The playoffs don’t matter anymore. The formula of small ball has been great for the regular season, but we do need a guy who can change the game with one swing and also a guy who can get on base and put pressure on the opposing pitchers.

    Today it doesn’t matter if we resign Tex or not. That is a discussion for after the season and for future debate. Let’s see how the season plays out first.

  8. twinkytodd

    Sounds like Kotch was happy to be traded. Not that any of you Kool-Aid drinkers will take an solace in that.

    This was a win-win baseball trade. The Angels got B-E-T-T-E-R with this deal and so did the Braves. I figure it needed to be spelled out for some on here.

    And who gives a rip about how long people have been Angels fans? Blah, blah, blah. That has nothing to do with anything. Would you rather have the bandwagon completely empty? Yeah, the team’d really get far that way…

    The fact is the Angels actually sold high for once rather than waiting for Kotchman and Marek to turn into Dallas McPherson and Steven Shell.

    Boras and Reagins clearly have some deal in the works otherwise Teixeira wouldn’t have been moved to the Angels as quickly and painlessly. They’ll pay him for a couple years until Trumbo is ready. Then you’ll have your local Mr. Angel…

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