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Why not Teixeira?

Look out Braves fans it's trading season. Let the unsubstantiated, Schuerholz-never-shows-his-hand rumors fly! The player that has caught my attention lately is some guy in Texas. No, not Kevin Millwood, the Rangers can keep his bloated salary and the rest of the years left on it. I'm talking about former Georgia Tech infielder turned Ranger first baseman, Mark Teixeira.

He's a switch-hitting slugging first baseman with above average defense. He would give us the cleanup hitter we've needed since the first season we had Andres Galarraga. No, Andruw Jones is not a cleanup hitter - never was, never will be. In our batting order he is out of position. He doesn't hit with men on base; the last three years he has a .279 BA with none on, a .245 BA with runners on, a .236 BA with runners in scoring position, and a .229 BA with runners in scoring position with two out. Of course, all of this is not to say that Teixeira would be a better cleanup hitter, he has traditionally been a number 3 hitter. But I'll take a number 3 hitter masquerading as a cleanup hitter faster than I will take a number 6 hitter masquerading like Jones has been. Besides, we've got another Jones who is mature enough of a hitter now to hit fourth with the same success he has hitting third.

One of the big knocks on Teixeira is that his agent is the dreaded Scott Boras, but when we're talking about Teixeira over Andruw Jones, that problem really doesn't amount to a hill of beans - or a hill of money. Boras will attempt to get AJ all the money he can this off-season, and he will attempt to do the same next after next season when Teixeira can become a free agent. So in that sense, which one would you rather have? The one you have to dole out big bucks to now, or the one you would have a whole year to try and sign for a discount before you may indeed have to dole out big bucks.

I say go full-bore after Mark Teixeira! And what would the Rangers want in return? Well, they could use some pitching. They don't have a single starter with an ERA under 5.00. Okay, throw them one of our lefties - Reyes, Harrison, or Smith. What else would they need? Well, they have absolutely no catching at the major league level, and their minor leagues don't seem to be producing any talent at the catching position. Okay, throw them Salty. Wow! That's a lot for us to give up for Mark Teixeira, isn't it? How about one of their crafty relievers to further bolster our pen, after all they do have the third-best bullpen ERA in the AL, so they've got several to choose from, and those discussions have apparently already started.

Yes, we would give up a great catching/first base "prospect" and a good pitching "prospect," but what are they doing for us now? Give them up and we've got a year and a half of Teixeira and the choice of signing him verses Andruw. This also puts us in the driver's seat when it comes to the Jones negotiations this winter. We won't be held up against a wall by Boras and made to give up more than we should in salary because of the prospect of losing our "cleanup hitter."

So that's the first move I'd make before the deadline, but there are several more...

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