It's odd to think that, given his importance to the New York Yankees, when the Texas Rangers traded firstbaseman Mark Teixeira to the Atlanta Braves midway through the 2007 season, it would open the door to their first playoff appearance in 11 years.
During the 2007 season, after two years with the franchise, the Rangers traded Teixeira to Atlanta for catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and four prospects; shortstop Elvis Andrus and starting pitchers, Matt Harrison, Neftali Feliz, and Beau Jones.
While Teixeira would eventually be traded again to the Angels before finally putting on the pinstripes in New York, the Rangers brought in several pieces which would become the building blocks for their 2010 ALCS berth.
Granted, Jones and Harrison are in the minors and Saltalamacchia isn't on the active roster, but the role that Andrus and Feliz have played in this AL West Champion team is undeniable. At the time of the trade, Andrus was a raw, 18-year-old kid and Feliz was only 19 with a power arm. The Rangers opted for youth and raw talent and although they were further away from the majors than some of Atlanta's other prospects, Rangers' GM Jon Daniels saw the potential.
Three years later and Elvis Andrus is a lynch pin in the Rangers' offense. While he only hit .265 during the regular season, he hit .333 during the Division Series against Tampa and he lit up the base paths, stealing three bases and scoring from second base on a groundball out to first.
Neftali Feliz set a rookie record with 40 saves during the regular season but gave up the go-ahead run during Game three against Tampa. In a questionable move by Rangers' Manager Ron Washington, Feliz was brought into the eighth inning, of a tie game, and proceeded to walk the first man he faced before giving up the go-ahead single to John Jaso. Feliz also gave up a homer to Carl Crawford to lead of the ninth inning before Washington mercifully removed him.
Despite that disapointing performance, Feliz has been a solid go-to guy for the Rangers all season long. He has devastating stuff, including a 97 mph plus fastball, and at the young age of 22, Feliz looks to be a big part of the team for years to come.
When the Rangers sent Mark Teixeira to Atlanta, they brought in players that shored up their infield defense, gave them speed at the top of their lineup and on the bases (do you think Jorge Posada is capable of dealing with that?), and a young, high-value, flamethrower who will look to shut the door and bring the Rangers to the World Series.
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