ATLANTA (AP) — Mark Teixeira could be the Atlanta Braves’ new cleanup hitter as early as Tuesday night.
The Braves reached an agreement on Monday to send rookie catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and three minor leaguers to Texas for the powerful, switch-hitting Teixeira. The official announcement of the deal is expected to come on Tuesday.
The negotiations were confirmed by people familiar with the deal who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it wasn’t finalized.
If made official, the deal could help reshape the National League postseason picture.
The Braves were set to send Saltalamacchia, slick-fielding shortstop Elvis Andrus and two more minor leaguers to Texas for Teixeira and left-handed reliever Ron Mahay.
The Braves have struggled at first base all season and currently do not have a lefty in their bullpen.
Texas was believed to be studying medical records on two Braves minor league players before completing the four-for-two exchange.
The Braves also were trying to complete a trade for Kansas City closer Octavio Dotel. Atlanta may be ready to send pitcher Kyle Davies to the Royals.
Texas was busy, too, as teams asked about reliever Eric Gagne. The New York Mets, New York Yankees and Boston were interested.
Tuesday is the deadline for making trades without waivers. The pending swap for Teixeira is already inspiring comparisons to the Braves’ 1993 deadline trade for first baseman Fred McGriff.
Atlanta, off on Monday, trails the New York Mets by 4 1/2 games in the NL East and is in the thick of the wild-card race. The Mets ended the Braves’ streak of 14 straight division titles last year.
Teixeira may replace Andruw Jones, hitting .216, as Atlanta’s cleanup hitter. He would join a lineup that also includes Chipper Jones, Jeff Francoeur and All-Star Brian McCann, but he won’t come cheaply.
Teixeira, making $9 million this year, is eligible for salary arbitration after this season and can become a free agent after the 2008 season. He is represented by agent Scott Boras.
The 27-year-old Teixeira is familiar with the Atlanta area, having starred at Georgia Tech.
Saltalamacchia, a switch-hitter with power, has spent time at first base this season as the Braves tried to find a way to utilize his bat. His strong throwing arm is best utilized at catcher, however.
In Atlanta, Saltalamacchia’s path at catcher was blocked by the 23-year-old McCann, who this spring signed a six-year, $26.8 million deal.
Mahay, 36, is 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA and one save in 28 games this season. He is an important part of the deal for the Braves, who were left with no left-handed reliever after Wilfredo Ledezma was designated for assignment on Sunday.
The Braves are expected to include two minor league pitchers in the deal with Texas.