Thursday, July 25, 2013
Best deadline deal ever: Angels
By Hudson Belinsky
Throughout July we're presenting 30 deals in 30 days: the best trade-deadline deal ever made by each team. We've covered the AL East, NL East, AL Central and NL Central, and now wrap up the AL West.
THE TEAM: Los Angeles Angels
THE YEAR: 2008
THE SITUATION: The Angels had the best record in baseball (65-40) by a 3.5-game margin and held an 11.5-game lead over the Texas Rangers in the AL West. Casey Kotchman was doing a decent job at first base, providing excellent defense and triple-slashing .287/.327/.448. Everything was good, but it would get even better.
The Braves found themselves 7.5 games behind the Mets for the NL East lead, and the Phillies and Marlins were significantly ahead of the Braves as well. They would look to extract as much value from their tradable assets as possible.
THE TRADE: Atlanta sent first baseman Mark Teixeira to the Angels for Kotchman and Double-A reliever Stephen Marek. Teixeira would be a free agent at the end of the year, while Kotchman would have two more seasons under team control.
THE AFTERMATH: Teixeira exploded, having perhaps the best two-month stretch of his career. He was .358/.449/.632 and smoked 13 homers for the Angels in a 54-game stretch.
They cruised to a 100-62 finish, easily giving them the best record in baseball. They'd run into the Boston Red Sox in the division series and lose in four games, but the aftermath of the Teixeira trade wouldn't be realized until much later.
Before Teixeira took funny money from the Yankees, the Angels offered him arbitration, meaning they would receive the Yankees' first-round pick in the following year's amateur draft. With that pick, the Angels took a New Jersey high school outfielder named Mike Trout.
Trout, obviously, has become a superstar. Marek bounced around the upper minors, but has yet to ascend to The Show. Kotchman struggled in the second half of 2008, but has posted a few decent seasons since the trade, although the Braves sent him to the Red Sox at the 2009 deadline for Adam LaRoche.
--Hudson Belinsky, Halos Daily