Acquired by the Angels on Tuesday from Atlanta in exchange for first baseman Casey Kotchman and Minor League pitcher Steve Marek, veteran first baseman Mark Teixeira brings a new switch-hitting production source to one of baseball's strongest teams. He posted a .283 average with 20 homers and 78 RBI in 102 games this season with the Braves, to which he was traded at the deadline in 2007. Among National League batters, the 28-year-old ranked fifth in walks (65), sixth in RBI and tied for fifth with a ratio of an RBI every 4.9 at-bats. He's a two-time Gold Glove winner and he was an All-Star in 2005. Here are excerpts from his media conference call on Tuesday:
07/30/2008 11:21 AM ET
Q&A with new Angel Mark Teixeira
First baseman happy to join new club in Boston
Q: Can you talk in general about this trade?
Teixeira: I'm very excited. I told my teammates in Atlanta, good luck, but, at the same time, I have a chance to win a World Series now with the Angels, and I'm really looking forward to that opportunity. I have a lot of respect for the (Braves) organization, having been around the club for as long as I have, and I'm very happy to now be on the other side. I had been with Texas for so long, and I'm looking forward to this.
Q: You had a lot of success last year in the month of August after getting traded to Atlanta from the Braves midseason. Can you talk about that experience and how that might apply for this year?
Teixeira: As a player, everybody wants to be in a pennant race. Every player wants to have the chance to win a World Series. In Texas last year, we weren't in that situation. When I went to the Braves, we were three or so games out at the trade deadline last year, and I came in and got very excited to be a part of the pennant race. It didn't work out at the end, but it was sure exciting, and it gives you a little more pep in your step those last two months. It's going to be the same this year with me being an Angel. The Braves this season, unfortunately, had a bunch of injuries and things didn't work out. Now I'm going to one of the best teams in baseball, and like Angels General Manager Tony Reagins said, a World Series for me would make this trade successful. Personal goals don't really matter. It's about the team.
Q: You are a free agent at the end of the year. Are the words "contract extension" part of your vocabulary?
Teixeira: The big picture here is about the World Series. We can talk about contracts after the season. I'm sure there will be plenty of time to talk about that in the offseason.
Q: If the Angels were to approach you about that during the season, would your suggestion be to worry about that in the offseason?
Teixeira Yeah. Those are hypothetical-type questions. I know Tony and owner Arte Moreno have a great relationship with my agent, Scott Boras, and I'm sure they will talk in the future. Right now, my No. 1 goal is to play defense and to drive in a bunch of runs for the Angels.
Q: Do you feel that, after this trade, the Angels are the team to beat?
Teixeira: Being in the National League this past year, I don't know the American League as well anymore. I will say that the Angels have always been one of the best teams in the league, and they have always had great pitching and played great defense. They find ways to win games, and I just want to help put them over the top. I'm not going to make any predictions, and I'm not going to say we are the team to beat. I know we have a great team, and I'm looking forward to coming aboard.
Q: Do you think you will have a tough adjustment going back to the American League having played in the NL the past 12 months?
Teixeira: I hope not. I was very familiar with the AL West playing there for five years. Fortunately this year, we got to play the West during interleague (play). Now that I don't have to face the Angels anymore, it's going to make my job hitting a lot easier because of their pitching staff. I don't think it will be as big a deal compared to if I had just spent the last five years in the National League. I'm one year away from the American League so, hopefully, I won't miss a step.
Q: Will you be in the Angels lineup in Boston on Wednesday?
Teixeira: I plan on being in Boston at about 1:30 p.m. so that should get me to the field in plenty of time. Then Mike Scioscia will make that decision.
Q: Did you have any contract talks with the Braves after you were acquired a year ago?
Teixeira: There were brief discussions in Spring Training with my agent and the Braves. It didn't get much further than one phone call, I believe. Then we moved on. I'm the type of player who feels that, if I go out and do my job on the field, then contracts will take care of themselves. That's my plan. I have never forced for a contract or an extension anywhere. I'm not going to start now.