The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim made a big push for the stretch drive today, acquiring Mark Teixeira from the Atlanta Braves for Casey Kotchman and Stephen Marek. The deal brings the Angels the "big bat" that they've desired for so long, but it's also a calculated gamble.
There's little question that Teixeira is a top-flight power hitter, and he will absolutely make a difference in the Angels lineup. The Angels were probably going to the playoffs without him, but they needed someone who could get a big hit in the playoffs, and Teixeira is a better guy to count on in the middle of the order than what the Halos have been working with lately.
Still, Teixeira is a free agent after this season, and his agent Scott Boras is going to demand an astronomical contract for his client. Boras will probably play the market to drive up Teixeira's price, and it's not clear if the Angels will pay him in the neighborhood of $20 million a year for the long-term.
If the Angels lose him, then they've effectively given up Casey Kotchman for nothing. While there's plenty of argument among Halo circles as to how promising a young player Kotchman actually is, he's been the third-best hitter on the team and seemingly still has room to grow. The Angels may figure though that they could lose Teixeira in the off-season, and at least find a comparable first baseman to Kotchman statistically at a low price.
Overall, this move will satisfy Angels fans who have been begging the organization to make a move. Sometimes, I think MLB teams have to be careful not to make a trade just to make one and satisfy some sort of primal urge. One could argue that's the case here. The trade makes the Angels a better team this year, and possibly years to come if Teixeira re-signs. Their odds of going to the World Series have just improved. But in the long-run, the Angels will either be saddled with an expensive contract that could hurt their payroll flexibility, or they will have created a hole at first base in exchagne for two good months of offensive production. It's a calculated gamble.