Posted 07/31/2007 at 11:26 AM
When you are the best at what you do, you produce at crunch time. For baseball GMs, that means making your team better before the trading deadline.
That's what Atlanta GM John Schuerholz did yesterday when he sent four prospects, including popular rookie catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, to Texas for Mark Teixeira and lefty reliever Ron Mahay.
The Braves are 4 1/2 games back of the division-leading Mets in the NL East, but now Atlanta has fixed its two biggest weaknesses -- lack of production at first base and the absence of a southpaw out of the bullpen.
Teixeira is only 27. He's a two-time Gold Glove winner whose signed through 2008. All he did in 2005 was hit 43 homers and drive in 144 runs. From 2003-2006, Teixeira belted 140 homers and 450 RBIs.
There are only three players in MLB history to hit more dingers in their first four seasons in the majors: Albert Pujols, Eddie Mathews and Ralph Kiner. Hello elite company!
With Mike Gonzalez out for the year, the Braves have been in dire need of a lefty in the bullpen. Problem solved with the acquisition of Mahay, who is 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA.
And Schuerholz might not be done. There are rumors that the Braves are in the mix to possibly acquire Kansas City reliever Octavio Dotel and/or Cincy RHP Bronson Arroyo, who threw a gem at Turner Field two weeks ago.
This isn't the first time Scherholz has worked his magic before the deadline. In 1991, he dealt for Alejandro Pena. In 1993, he sent a bag of peanuts to the Padres for Fred McGriff. In '96, he traded for Denny Neagle.
As usual, the Braves GM has done his job. Now it's up to the team to go catch the very-catch-able-looking Mets.