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Angels land Teixeira for Kotchman, minor league pitcher

The Angels have acquired first baseman Mark Teixeira from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for first baseman Casey Kotchman and minor league pitcher Stephen Marek, SI.com has confirmed.

The acquisition of Teixeira could make the Angels, who already have the best record in baseball, the clear World Series favorites. The inclusion of Kotchman, a young and talented first baseman, surprised competing baseball executives but it is a clear indication that Angels owner Arte Moreno is going for it. Without Kotchman, it appears the Angels will undoubtedly try to sign Teixeira to a long-term deal to keep him in Anaheim when he be comes eligible for free agency at season's end.

"They have the best team is baseball. I'm not going to go over there and make them any different, other than just hopefully add a few more runs. They have all the pitching they need, they have great defense," Teixeira said.

"It's a little bittersweet. I really enjoyed my time here. I had a great year here. I love this team. I love this organization. I love this city. It's tough to leave. But at the same time I have a great opportunity in Anaheim and I'm looking forward to it," he said. "The last couple days I knew it was coming, so I prepared for it."

Teixeira is batting .283 with 20 home runs and 78 RBI this year. He was traded to the Braves last season in a megadeal with the Texas Rangers and thrived as a deadline pickup, batting .317 with 17 HRs and 56 RBI in 54 games, although the Braves fell short of the playoffs.

Kotchman, a former first round pick of the Angels, is still just 25 years old. He is on pace for career highs in most categories, including games, runs, hits, doubles, home runs and RBIs. He is batting .287 with 12 home runs and 54 RBIs.

"I'm just excited to go to Atlanta and play for (manager) Bobby Cox," Kotchman said before leaving Fenway Park for the airport. "At the same time, my teammates here, to leave them, I'll be pulling for them. Other than that, there's really not a whole lot I can say."

The Angels are 65-40 and lead the AL West by 11 1/2 games; no other first-place team has a lead bigger than 2 games on the second-place team in their division. However, the Angels' offense has been in need of a boost, ranking just 19th in the majors with 449 runs scored. Vladimir Guerrero currently leads the team with 17 home runs and is one of three players (including Kotchman) topping the team with 54 RBIs, totals Teixeira is well past already this season.

The Diamondbacks and Rays were also in the mix. Chad Tracy was in the D'backs package and the Rays were willing to surrender Carlos Pena to meet the Braves' demand of a first baseman in exchange for Teixeira.

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