A Trade That Won’t Happen

So did you hear this rumor?

The Red Sox have talked to the Braves about free-agent-to-be first
baseman Mark Teixeira, and more conversations are likely to take place
before the July 31 trading deadline, according to well-placed major
league sources.

ESPN’s Peter Gammons was the first to report that the talks had
taken place, and it is true that the Braves asked for first baseman
Kevin Youkilis and Craig Hansen in return. Would the Sox make that
deal? Not at the moment, but the message they left with the Braves was
keep us in mind. The Braves, according to those sources, have their
doubts that the Sox would move Youkilis, because of his ability to play
both first and third and his defensive skills at both positions.

And also Youkilis is cost-controlled for two more years and the Sox would have to pay a lot of money to keep Texeira, and getting Texeira doesn’t solve the DH problem and why would the Sox do this?

34 comments… add one

  • A couple reasons:
    1. Teixeira is younger
    2. Teixeira is better
    I’m not sure they should do the trade either, but it’s tantalizing, to say the least.

    Paul SF July 15, 2008, 9:26 am
  • As much as I like Youk, this would be kind of cool and it gets rid of my LFRS.

    LocklandSF July 15, 2008, 9:36 am
  • I make this trade seventeen days a week.

    Brad July 15, 2008, 9:48 am
  • “keep us in mind”
    Yeah, hot story. I mean, isn’t this a required closing phrase of any phone call involving GMs where players are discussed and deals aren’t consummated?
    I am so tired of trade reporting (not you, Nick, don’t take this the wrong way!) – even the most normal and expected expression of interest (or veiled non-interest) is overparsed into oblivion, despite its utter normalcy. How is Theo supposed to end a phone call with any possible trade partner, exactly?

    SF July 15, 2008, 10:00 am
  • You mean, Peter “The Sox are finalizing the Santana trade” Gammons has another scoop!? And one that helps them if the Yanks wanted to get involved!? Shocking!?
    “Teixeira is younger”
    One year doesn’t mean much.
    “Teixeira is better”
    I think this is debateable. Teixeira isn’t same hitter since he left the Ballpark’s bandbox (career Home – .948 OPS; away .859 OPS). By contrast, Youkilis has never shown much of a Fenway bias. Further, you take the latter defense and versatility. That’s a very good thing. Add in Youkilis’ cost and I think I’d rather keep him than trade him for a rental + huge contract (given Angelos’ interest).

    A YF July 15, 2008, 10:16 am
  • Definitely enticing. I’d hate to lose Youk, but Teixeira is a MUCH better player. Youk is versatile being able to play both 1st and 3rd, though.

    Atheose July 15, 2008, 10:20 am
  • MLBTR has been monitoring this one and, at last word, it was “debunked”. Or whatever you want to call the limbo all these rumors exist in.
    Can’t Tex play first and third too? Not as well as Youk, but I thought he’s played both.
    I’d certainly miss Youkilis, and this loss would sting more than other recent changes. It’s hard not to be interested in Tex, but I’m just as happy to pass on it.

    FenSheaParkway July 15, 2008, 10:30 am
  • “Teixeira is a MUCH better player”
    Now this is an easy one because it’s not true.
    I understand “player” to mean offense and defense.
    Youkilis takes the defense – hands down.
    So then we’re left debating offense, and there it’s MUCH closer than you’d think when you consider the Arlington park. For instance, Teixeira’s 2005 season – which marked him as a 25 yo superstar – was hugely driven by his home stats – 1.109 vs. .809 OPS. In 2006 when he struggled at home, we was good but not great overall.
    All that said, Teixeira would seem to be a slightly better hitter. But it’s not so much, in my book, to make him the MUCH better player. Even still, an argument could be made that Youkilis is peaking late given his late shot. By contrast, Teixeira may have peaked early.
    I guess what I’m saying is: Pull the trigger, Theo!

    A YF July 15, 2008, 10:33 am
  • Youkilis takes the defense – hands down
    Youk: .997 fielding percentage this year at 1B, .998 career at 1B. 8.26 career range factor.
    Teixeira: .998 fielding percentage at 1B this year, .996 career at 1B. 9.43 career range factor.
    Youk is BARELY better than Tex in fielding percentage, and Teixeira has better range.
    Offensively it isn’t even close: Youk has a 115 career OPS+, while Teixeira has a career 130. That’s park adjusted, lest you say that he’s only good in Arlington.
    Also: in 2006 and 2007 Tex had a better OPS on the road than at home. Nice try cherrypicking one year to back up your claim though.

    Atheose July 15, 2008, 10:42 am
  • FSP: he hasn’t played 3B since his rookie year. He’s been a DH a handful of times though.

    Atheose July 15, 2008, 10:47 am
  • Factoring Runs Created (offense) and Runs Saved (Defense), Youk has been the best first baseman in the AL this year. I haven’t seen the NL numbers, so Texeira may be even better – I’m not sure. But the difference between the 2 can’t be very big at all.
    The only reason I can see the Sox wanting to do the deal (and it sounds unlikely in the first place) is this: Youk has been a much better player in the first half over the course of his career, and tends to tail off in the second half – so Tex maybe well be better for the stretch run. And I think the Sox have probably adjusted their expectations quite a bit w/r/t Hansen.

    Mark (YF) July 15, 2008, 10:48 am
  • MLBTR has been monitoring this one and, at last word, it was “debunked”. Or whatever you want to call the limbo all these rumors exist in.
    My understanding was that the “rumor” was actually proven true — the Braves did ask the Sox for Hansen and Youkilis in return for Teixeira, as Gammons reported. Of course, the Sox rejected it. If Ortiz comes back normal, then you don’t need to make the trade — or you can afford to wait and spend only money in the offseason.
    Crazy idea: What if they want to get Teixeira and let Manny walk? We all know Youkilis can play a decent left field, probably no worse — and likely better — than Ramirez. Teixeira right now is a better hitter than Manny is.
    Also, when considering Teixeira (career 130 OPS+): His second-half OPS in his career is 61 points better than his first-half OPS. By contrast, Youkilis (career 115 OPS+, with this year being his only season even matching Teixeira’s career average) in the second half has posted a second-half OPS 161 points lower than in the first half. This, granted, is likely exacerbated by the extremely poor second half he had last season and the amazing first half he’s having this season. Teixeira is also known as a plus defender, so the Sox wouldn’t be losing much on that end, either were they to trade Youk or shift him to left or wherever.
    I could easily see the Sox looking to turn an Ortiz-Manny combo into an Ortiz-Tex combo. I’d be cool with that.

    Paul SF July 15, 2008, 10:49 am
  • Yeah Mark, Youk is a career .244 hitter (slugging .384) in the 2nd half. He’s always fantastic in the first half, and always collapses in July/August. He has yet to do it this season, but it just makes us worry he’ll crash harder when he finally does.
    I wouldn’t make the move because I like Youk and think Hansen will turn things around (his slider IS amazing), and Youk is cheap for how productive he’ll be. But Youkilis is not a better player than Teixeira.

    Atheose July 15, 2008, 10:54 am
  • Interesting idea, Paul. Tex has had 4 straight seasons of 30+ HR (and is on track for a 5th), and used to be an outfielder in College.

    Atheose July 15, 2008, 10:57 am
  • Paul – I would actually be surprised if Manny doesn’t walk at the end of the season. He’s still valuable, but he’s declining and is sure to want a big contract which he won’t be worth. Factor in that Manny’s never seemed to have much loyalty to any particular team and the Red Sox brass’s willingness to (wisely) part ways with former stars, and I would actually be surprised if he’s back next year. And Youk could always play 3B once Lowell is gone (how much longer on his contract, BTW?)

    Mark (YF) July 15, 2008, 11:00 am
  • Mark: there are two team options for Manny for 2009 and 2010. If we used these options he wouldn’t get a new contract until 2011.

    Atheose July 15, 2008, 11:03 am
  • “Also: in 2006 and 2007 Tex had a better OPS on the road than at home. Nice try cherrypicking one year to back up your claim though.”
    Teixeira shows 100 point increase on his career OPS. But of course, feel free to cherry pick any season that shows otherwise – including one where he got traded mid-way.
    And sure, OPS+ is park *adjusted* but that’s far from a normalization. It helps but it doesn’t do away with the issue.
    As for defense:
    Any one who knowz anything about defense would never resort to FPCT to make or break an argument.
    RAA shows Teixeira at -2 over his career, and a 100 RATE. He’s about average. Youkilis is at a 9 RAA and 103 RATE. That’s above average. Besides, since learning the position, he’s been that much better.
    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/dt/teixema01.php
    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/dt/youki________ke01.php
    FSP nicely answers the question about 3B. Not only is Youkilis above average at 1B, he’s also above average at 3B. Meanwhile, Teixeira couldn’t hack 3B, so he got moved to 1B. The point: It’s obvious that Youkilis is the far better defender.
    That all said, I only disagree that Teixeira is the MUCH better player. He’s not. He probably a bit better (though not this year on VORP), but it’s not so much that I would trade one for the other, especially given the costs over the next two years and their respective trajectories.

    A YF July 15, 2008, 11:08 am
  • That all said, I only disagree that Teixeira is the MUCH better player. He’s not. He probably a bit better (though not this year on VORP), but it’s not so much that I would trade one for the other, especially given the costs over the next two years and their respective trajectories
    I can respect that.

    Atheose July 15, 2008, 11:12 am
  • “Crazy idea: What if they want to get Teixeira and let Manny walk? We all know Youkilis can play a decent left field, probably no worse — and likely better — than Ramirez.”
    I don’t know why you’d take a step down in offense (Tex for Manny) and defense (Tex for Youk) to do this. LF defense in Fenway isn’t going to cost or save the team many runs.
    Better to keep Youk/Manny or sign Bonds.
    “I would actually be surprised if Manny doesn’t walk at the end of the season.”
    What Atheose is trying to say, and failing, is that it’s the team’s option on whether Manny leaves.

    A YF July 15, 2008, 11:12 am
  • for the Sox to make this deal and for it to make sense, I think we would have to have an exclusive negotiating window with Tex. Whether that is possible is another thing altogether. But, if the Sox were able to lock him up before he hit free agency, thereby gaining their first baseman of the future and withholding his services from others in the AL East (and it looks like that’s where he’s headed), this deal probably is worth it.

    Nick-YF July 15, 2008, 11:20 am
  • Ath, thanks. I was remembering his rookie season apparently, and figured he’d made occasional starts at 3B since.
    Considering both players are probably in their peak years right now (give or take), if we’re talking about Tex being a long-term acquisition (as opposed to the stretch-drive argument that I don’t agree with at all), then we’re talking about the quality of their post-peak plateaus (plateaux?). I’m unfamiliar with any career projections for the two, but for some reason I’m less worried about Tex’s thirties than Youk’s thirties.

    Anonymous July 15, 2008, 11:21 am
  • oops! I wrote “we” when I meant “they”. Awkward…

    Nick-YF July 15, 2008, 11:21 am
  • Me.

    FenSheaParkway July 15, 2008, 11:22 am
  • That’s ok Nick, we all know you’re a secret Red Sox fan, you can let it out.

    LocklandSF July 15, 2008, 11:27 am
  • Theo: Make the trade! Then give him 100 million!
    (Teixeira doesn’t scare me. Teixeira at Fenway? .207/.373/.293 in 75 PA.)

    A YF July 15, 2008, 11:28 am
  • If Steve Phillips says it’s a bad deal, then by all means go ahead and make the deal, that’s my mantra.

    SF July 15, 2008, 11:35 am
  • Phillips doesn’t like it? Shucks, I’m torn now…

    FenSheaParkway July 15, 2008, 11:45 am
  • Long term, unless you think Youkilis — who hasn’t yet shown that he can sustain consistent production over even one full season — is going to be a late bloomer, the obvious choice is Teixeira, who is a year younger AND has a higher plane from which to slope as he enters his mid 30s (SEVEN years from now).
    Youkilis I think is slightly better on defense. Teixeira is much better on offense. Youkilis has a bunch of flexibility that may increase in value as Lowell ages, and I’m not sure how to measure that, particularly when we consider the emergence of Jed Lowrie. I love Youk, and I love rooting for a home-grown guy, but he’s just not the player Teixeira is — at least, he wasn’t entering this season.

    Paul SF July 15, 2008, 11:48 am
  • Meanwhile, one New York newspaper dares to go where no one else will:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/15/sports/baseball/15stadium.html
    (Blasphemy? Nah. Telling the truth… The first time I ever saw a game at Yankee Stadium, even my 7-year-old potty-brained sensibilities were scandalized.)
    And if you consider this baiting… I remind you the article above is from an NYC paper.

    Hudson July 15, 2008, 11:49 am
  • “he wasn’t entering this season.”
    You can’t leave that out of the discussion. More interesting to me is that the Sox have at least two more years to evaluate Youkilis and see what they’ve got. Teixiera’s price is set and it’s not cheap.
    I’m not sure Youkilis *is* a late bloomer, but I know it’s wouldn’t surprise me.
    Teixeira, for some reason, just seems like an early bloomer. Seeing those home/road splits just convinces me that much more. Worse, if his defense slips at all over the course of a long contract, he’s an underpowered DH since there’s nowhere else to play him. Paying him is one thing, but giving up something significantly for that “privilege” is something else entirely.

    A YF July 15, 2008, 12:02 pm
  • Phillips doesn’t like it? Shucks, I’m torn now…
    Well, I am only guessing that it is Phillips who doesn’t like it, but I could be wrong about such a public figure.

    SF July 15, 2008, 12:03 pm
  • a propos of nothing, here is Fire Joe Morgan’s takedown of Rick Reilly’s “atheist” comment from the HRD last night.
    http://www.firejoemorgan.com/2008/07/weird-things-to-say-during-home-run.html

    SF July 15, 2008, 12:25 pm
  • FJM should be required reading…

    rootbeerfloat July 15, 2008, 12:37 pm
  • > FJM should be required reading…
    it is for me.
    The atheist comment was so awkward, contrived, hackneyed. I suppose I’m glad I wasn’t paying very good attention at the time but that line flew like a fart in an elevator. Reilly attempted to pile on to the Hamilton hay wagon with the 422nd retelling of the “overcoming demons” story.
    Hamilton’s post-derby interview with (the increasingly annoying) Erin Andrews was actual quite self-effacing and respectful, and when he acknowledged his faith and thanks to his savior, I found it entirely human and commendable. But the announcers glomming on all game was more than I could bear; it approached sickening levels of sycophancy, and Reilly just wrapped the circle-jerk with a bow. It almost made we wish Berman would talk more.

    attackgerbil July 15, 2008, 12:48 pm

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