In trading for switch-hitting slugger Mark Teixeira, the Angels essentially added a turbo-booster to the engine of an already well-oiled machine that has been rapidly pulling away from everyone else in the American League West.
"It made a great team even better," said injured Oakland first baseman Mike Sweeney. "Their lineup was one of the best in baseball, and you add Teixeira to the mix, that's some serious firepower, brother."
The Angels held an 11 1/2-game lead over second-place Texas and a 12-game lead over Oakland in the AL West before beating the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Tuesday evening to improve to 9-2 since the All-Star break.
A handful of A's conceded that the defending division champs were in the driver's seat even without Teixeira, a 28-year-old first baseman whom the Halos acquired from the Braves in exchange for 25-year-old first baseman Casey Kotchman and a Double-A pitching prospect.
"I was kind of surprised by [the trade]," said Oakland designated hitter/outfielder Jack Cust. "They were doing so well, and sometimes you don't want to mess with the clubhouse. Kotchman was having a good year for them, too. He was going a great job for them.
"But Teixeira does make them a more dangerous lineup."
Kotchman was batting .287 with 12 homers, 54 RBIs, a .327 on-base percentage and a .448 slugging percentage. Teixeira was batting .283 with 20 homers, 78 RBIs, a .390 on-base percentage and a .512 slugging percentage.
A's manager Bob Geren wasn't in the mood to praise the Angels, saying he didn't know what kind of year Teixeira was having.
"I think it's a good trade for both teams," he added.
Sweeney agreed, but he left no doubt as to which team he thought improved the most in the short term.
"Kotchman's a really good player," Sweeney said. "It's not like he was a hole in their lineup. They were a really good team with him. But now ... they don't have any holes in the lineup now, that's for sure."
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.