We’ve seen the Braves connected in Mark Teixeira rumors before; in late June Kat O’Brien included the Braves in a sizeable list of interested teams. Speculation for quite a while now has placed catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the discussion.
David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the Teixeira-to-Atlanta rumor was still making the rounds at the All-Star Game. He seems to be speculating when he says Jon Daniels would require Salty and another young player, but that sounds about right. Perhaps the Braves wouldn’t be daunted by Teixeira’s free agency after 2008. They could definitely let him walk and collect some valuable draft picks. That’d bypass a lot of the Boras factor, though they’ll still have to arrive at a 2008 salary.
Braves’ first basemen have amassed an ugly .211/.264/.374 line in 318 ABs, most of it coming from Scott Thorman and the since-departed Craig Wilson. But if they went with Saltalamacchia exclusively from here on out, would he be significantly worse than Teixeira?
The Braves are fourth in the NL in OBP and sixth in slugging, with Andruw Jones perhaps primed for a much better second half. The bigger need is in pitching, specifically the starting rotation. Atlanta’s 4.60 rotation ERA is just 10th in the NL, and they have to be at least slightly worried about John Smoltz.
The problem is that Teixeira is definitely on the market, while an ace starter may not be. Javier Vazquez might be the best pitcher available.