Remember the day July 31, 2007. That's the day the Texas Rangers organization changed, possibly forever, with one phone call and one proverbial handshake.
That's the day the Rangers and young GM Jon Daniels pulled the trigger on a deal that sent superstar slugger Mark Teixeira to the Atlanta Braves in return for what ended up being a core group of players for the Rangers' future that springboarded them into becoming an American League power.
The press release issued back then from the Braves said this, "The Braves sent rookie catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and four minor leaguers to Texas for the powerful, switch-hitting Teixeira.”
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Of course, Saltalamacchia was later dealt to the Boston Red Sox for prospects, including slugger Chris McGuiness, who mashed his 18th home run of the season yesterday for the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders, and has turned into one of the better catchers in the AL after struggling for the Rangers.
Those four minor leaguers? Well, there's Beau Jones, who isn't in the organization anymore. And then, oh yeah, there's Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and Matt Harrison.
Andrus, of course, has emerged as the top young shortstop in the game and has begun hitting this year to go with his flashy defense. Feliz won AL Rookie of the Year honors in 2010 as the team's closer and moved to the starting rotation this year before going on the disabled list. And then, there's Harrison.
Harrison took a complete-game loss on Thursday in which he gave up two runs to see his record go to 11-4, and his ERA dropped to 3.10 despite taking the loss. He's made a good case over the first half of this season for being the team's ace, right up there with Yu Darvish. He's only 26 years old, he's left-handed and he's throwing in the upper 90s when he's on with pinpoint control.
That's lovely, and so was this trade. Of course, history shows the Braves missed the playoffs in 2007 and then dealt Teixeira to the Los Angeles Angels at the 2008 trade deadline before he signed with the New York Yankees prior to the 2009 season.