Teixeira’s Value

Yesterday, the Braves decided to throw in the towel for 2008, officially putting Mark Teixeira on the trade block in an effort to recoup some of the prospects they gave up to get him a year ago. Teixeira’s a fine player, and would immediately improve any team he’s on, but there isn’t an obvious fit among the teams rumored to be interested. Using Sal Baxamusa’s Quick-N-Dirty Marcel tool and converting the difference to linear weights win values, we can estimate just how much of an impact Teixeira would have on each of the four teams rumored to be in the hunt.

Marcel thinks Teixeira is good for a .289/.382/.524 mark in 248 PA’s the rest of the way, which translates to about nine runs above a replacement level first baseman. His Fielding Bible +/- has him at +12 plays made so far this year, so we’d estimate him at about +5 the rest of the year if that was his true talent level. +5 plays at first base is close to 4 runs, so overall, our projection for Teixeira’s value the rest of the year is about +13 runs, or 1.3 wins, above a replacement level player.

Arizona Diamondbacks – replacing Chad Tracy

Marcel thinks Tracy will hit .284/.348/.472 the rest of the way, and he’s average defensively at first base, which makes him +5 runs over replacement. Teixeira would be an improvement of about 8 runs, or a little bit less than one win.

Boston Red Sox – replacing I Have No Idea

With David Ortiz at DH, Kevin Youkilis at first base, and Mike Lowell at third base, the Teixeira-to-Boston rumors don’t make any sense. No matter which of those three we replaced with Teixeira, the projected difference the rest of the year is a run or two at most. Boston’s not dumb enough to give up a lot of talent for no reason.

Tampa Bay Rays – replacing Cliff Floyd

This would be a little more complicated, as we have to assume Teixeira would play first base, Carlos Pena would move to DH, and Floyd would move into a platoon with Eric Hinske in RF. So, it’s not an even swap, but we can estimate the improvement as the upgrade over Floyd’s bat (sorta) and Pena’s glove. Marcel has Floyd at .257/.339/.430 the rest of the year, and when combined with the minor improvement in defense (Pena’s a good 1B too), the upgrade for Tampa would be about ten runs.

Los Angeles Angels – replacing Juan Rivera

Again, it’s not quite this simple. Rivera would likely still play some, taking time from Garret Anderson and Casey Kotchman, but this is just an estimate, and the results will still be similar, so we’re just going to swap Teixeira into Rivera’s spot. Marcel likes Rivera, thinking he’s good for a .278/.334/.461 mark the rest of the way, and since Kotchman is a good defensive 1B as well, the defensive upgrade is minimal. All told, Teixeira would add about nine runs to the Angels total.

Boston gets eliminated from the race for a lack of an upgrade, and overall, the other three teams would all seemingly benefit about the same amount. The problem, though, is that amount just isn’t that large. Yes, one win may be the difference between a playoff spot and sitting at home in October, so if the price isn’t exorbitant, it should be considered, but these teams don’t have gaping wounds at first base, and the upgrade T-Rex provided wouldn’t be as large as you might think, given his abilities.

It’s not worth mortgaging the farm for. Perhaps there’s a deal out there that makes sense for both Atlanta and a potential buyer, but there’s not a team that Teixeira is goiing to be the difference maker for.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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Does Marcel take into account the fact that Teixeira always hits better in the second half? Tex is a career .296/.382/.566 hitter post-All-Star Break. The Marcel projections seem a little low, although I don’t know that the difference would translate to much of a difference in WARP.

The idea I’ve seen pushed for Boston is to acquire Teixeira and somehow unload Manny Ramirez, then shift Youkilis to LF (He’s played there before). I think Boston would also insist on a 72-hour window to sign Teixeira to a long-term contract. But I don’t believe that will happen; I think Teixeira will end up in Arizona.