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Angels acquire Teixeira from Braves

ATLANTA – The Los Angeles Angels acquired slugging first baseman Mark Teixeira from the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday, a bold trade that further bolsters the team with the best record in the major leagues.

The Angels, with an 11 1/2-game lead in the AL West and primed for a World Series run, sent first baseman Casey Kotchman and minor league pitcher Steve Marek to Atlanta.

“Hopefully, I can just go over there and be one more piece of the puzzle,” Teixeira said before the Braves hosted St. Louis.

Teixeira is making $12.5 million and will be eligible for free agency after the season. Atlanta general manager Frank Wren said the team was rebuffed in spring training when it offered Teixeira a deal that would have made him “one of the highest-paid players in the game.”

There were no further contract discussions between Wren and Teixeira’s agent, Scott Boras. With Atlanta plagued by injuries and fading in the NL East, Wren thought he had little choice but to get something of value before losing the 28-year-old Teixeira.

“We offered him a very aggressive, multiyear contract,” Wren said. “When he didn’t take that, we knew we wouldn’t be able to re-sign him.”

Teixeira said the negotiations with the Braves were nothing more than “one phone call.”

“Then we moved on,” he said. “I’ve always been a player who believes if I go out and do my job on the field, contracts will take care of themselves. That’s my plan.”

The Angels made the deal knowing they are unlikely to sign Teixeira to a long-term deal before everyone has a shot at him in free agency. In fact, the first baseman said he would prefer no contract talks with his new team until after the season.

That didn’t stop Los Angeles from pursuing the deal.