July 28, 2008

The Braves are shopping star first baseman Mark Teixeira, and executives with other teams tell SI.com they believe Atlanta will deal Teixeira somewhere -- perhaps Arizona -- by Thursday's trade deadline.

The Diamondbacks are one of a few teams showing interest in Teixeira, and people familiar with those talks say the sides are discussing a potential deal that would send young first baseman/third baseman Chad Tracy in a package to Atlanta for Teixeira. An executive with another interested team says he believes the Braves appear "locked in on Arizona'' at the moment.

The Angels, Dodgers, Rays and Red Sox are among other potential players for Teixeira -- though an Angels person characterized a deal with them as "unlikely." The Dodgers have been reluctant to take on additional salary and the Red Sox don't have a real need for offense, except in the unlikely event they find a trade for embattled superstar Manny Ramirez. The Rays may be the second choice, a real fallback possibility, if talks with the D-Backs fall through.

Tracy has been hot in recent weeks for Arizona, raising his trade value with a .375 batting average in July, and would appear to be a good start toward a deal for Teixeira. However, the Braves are said to have been requesting that Arizona include one of two big young pitchers -- Max Scherzer or Jarrod Parker -- with the D-Backs balking at that request.

The Braves originally are believed to have sought James Loney from the Dodgers, Casey Kotchman from the Angels, Kevin Youkilis from the Red Sox or Conor Jackson from the Diamondbacks. None of those requests is believed to have been met, but Arizona had a good substitute for Jackson in Tracy. Even so, there's no evidence yet the teams are close to consummating a trade.

David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said on his blog Monday night that Braves GM Frank Wren "said they have deals on the table right now if they want to pull the trigger -- deals the Braves are holding off on because they want to see if they can do better.''

The Braves apparently determined over the past couple days that they weren't going to be able contend this year with injuries piling up, so Teixeira, a free agent at year's end, is a natural to go. The Braves just placed stars Chipper Jones and Tim Hudson on the disabled list, where they join other Braves veterans like John Smoltz and Tom Glavine. Atlanta acquired Teixeira from Texas at last year's trade deadline in a deal for five young players, including catcher Jarrod Saltalmacchia, but don't believe they have a realistic chance to sign him to a long-term contract.

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