Mark Teixeira is a former MVP runner-up, having played professional baseball at the MLB level for 13 seasons. He played for the Rangers, Braves, Angels, and Yankees. His most notable baseball was played in the pinstripes, where he was a cornerstone of the franchise for seven seasons from 2009 to 2016. He is, by all means, a legendary baseball player who had an outstanding career, but what if I told you his biggest impact on the game of baseball might not have even been his own ￼career? Let me explain…
The Atlanta Braves traded Mark Teixeira to the Los Angels at the 2008 MLB trade deadline. The Braves acquired Teixeira in 2007 and he went on to hit .317 with 17 HRs and 56 RBIs that season. He was great for them in 2008 as well, hitting .283 with 20 homers and 78 RBIs by the trade deadline. The Angels pounced on him at the deadline to make a playoff push, and they didn’t realize how much that would end up paying off for them.
Teixeira would hit .358 with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs in 54 games. He carried the Angels to the playoffs and was regarded as one of the better trade deadline pick ups of all time. The problem was that he was a rental, a player who was in the last year of his contract. The Angels of course wanted to retain him after seeing his performance for them during the 2008 season. After some back and forth during free agency, the Angels withdrew their offer to Teixeira. The deal would have been an 8 year, 160 million dollar deal.
Teixeira would eventually go on to sign with the Yankees and finish second in MVP voting in 2009, with 39 homers and 122 RBIs to go with a .292 batting average. He would help deliver the Yankees a World Series title in 2009 as well. He would be a fan favorite for the Yankees and have three seasons with over 100 RBIs in his Yankees tenure. His glove and bat would hold down the first base position in New York with ease for quite a long time, especially with some other Yankee legends like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera calling it quits during his time there. After a fantastic career stretching across four teams and thirteen seasons, Mark Teixeira would retire. His career was legendary, but there was something maybe even more legendary about it that happened after the 2008 season though.
Let’s go back to the Angels. They obviously wish that they could have retained “Tex” after his amazing season in 2008, but they could not end up getting it done. Due to the fact that Teixeira signed elsewhere, the Angels were given a compensatory draft selection, the 25th overall pick. This is a common occurrence, and various teams receive these picks after losing their key players in free agency. These picks can be very important and are extremely valuable, though they come at the cost of losing an important player like Teixeira to free agency. Without Teixeira, The Angels would be on the clock at pick 25 of the 2009 MLB Draft. The selection they would make would change baseball forever.
With the 25th pick of the 2009 MLB Draft, the Los Angeles Angels would select Michael Nelson Trout. He is known to many as simply Mike Trout. The greatest player of our generation. This pick was supposed to belong to the Yankees but instead netted the Angels a player that we may only see once in a lifetime. Trout has been in the top 5 of every MVP vote since his rookie season, winning the award himself three times. His consistency throughout his career is unbelievable, he is far and away the most talented player we have seen in a long time, and he is still very much in his prime. He has posted a batting average of over .300 six times and averages almost 40 home runs and over 100 RBIs a season while battling injury and a paltry supporting cast. To say that Mike Trout is one of the greatest to ever play the game of baseball is a fact, and he is still growing his legend as we speak. While the injury bug has been biting him a little over the last few seasons, he is still the league’s best player when healthy, though his teammate Shohei Ohtani might have officially dethroned him by having the greatest season in the history of baseball here in 2021. Mike Trout is the face of the game, an icon, a superstar, and a long-tenured Angel with no plans to go anywhere else for the rest of his career.
It’s unbelievable to watch the domino effects of the MLB, and this is a prime example. Mark Teixeira, a superstar first baseman and World Series champion, signing with the New York Yankees over the Los Angeles Angels netted the Angels the greatest player of our generation in Mike Trout. The reverberations of this transaction are still being felt in the MLB today, and will likely be felt for a long time after this. Mark Teixeira becoming a Yankee led to the Angels being able to draft Mike Trout, and the rest is history. In fact, history is still going on. We are all witnesses to it. The greatest player of our time finding his forever home as the result of another player’s free agent decision over a decade ago.