Eric Gagne gave up a closing job in Texas for a setup role in Boston in the biggest trade Tuesday before baseball’s deadline to make deals without waivers.
Atlanta finalized its seven-player trade to acquire power-hitting first baseman Mark Teixeira from the payroll-paring Rangers. Those were by far the biggest of the 10 trades that involved 25 players.
Many of the big names bandied about in recent weeks stayed put, with no deals materializing for Chicago White Sox outfielder Jermaine Dye, Washington closer Chad Cordero and Cincinnati outfielder Adam Dunn by the 4 p.m. deadline.
Instead, contenders scrambled for whatever relief pitching was available, with the Braves obtaining setup man Octavio Dotel from Kansas City and the Los Angeles Dodgers getting Scott Proctor from the New York Yankees for infielder Wilson Betemit.
Gagne, a three-time All-Star and the 2003 NL Cy Young Award winner for the Dodgers, was traded for left-hander Kason Gabbard and minor league outfielders David Murphy and Engel Beltre. Gagne will serve as Jonathan Papelbon’s primary setup man and will close on days Papelbon needs rest.
“We actually love our bullpen,” Boston manager Terry Francona said of his relievers, who have the lowest ERA in the majors at 2.74. “I think it just got a lot better.”
Milwaukee also tried to land Gagne, who can become a free agent after the World Series.
“Scott Boras represents Dice-K, J.D. Drew and Jason Varitek and they’re all in Boston,” Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said.
“So, I don’t know whether that pushed him that way or did it come down to just the players that were offered, I don’t know that. We were offering a lot for what probably would amount to 20 innings for the rest of the year.”
Teixeira went to the Braves with left-hander Ron Mahay for rookie catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and four prospects: shortstop Elvis Andrus, left-hander Matt Harrison, left-hander Beau Jones and right-hander Neftali Feliz.
Teixeira, eligible for free agency after the 2008 season, was an All-Star in 2005 and is a two-time Gold Glove winner.
Atlanta also got Dotel from the Royals for right-hander Kyle Davies, and left-hander Royce Ring from San Diego for right-hander Wilfredo Ledezma and lefty Will Startup.
“We’ve got a World Series team,” Braves shortstop Edgar Renteria said. “That makes the whole lineup more dangerous. It’s exciting.”
Saltalamacchia was rated Atlanta’s top prospect by Baseball America before the season, with Andrus second, Harrison third, Jones 14th and Feliz 18th.
“That’s what it took,” Braves general manager John Schuerholz said. “I’ll think about next year next year.”
Texas owner Tom Hicks said the trade was made after Boras, who also represents Teixeira, turned down a $140 million, eight-year extension that was offered two weeks ago.
“We told Boras that if our offer was turned down, we would trade Tex now if we received an appropriate offer, or during the off season if not,” Hicks said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
Cordero, relieved that he wasn’t dealt, sat in the home dugout at RFK Stadium in his blue warmup jersey and smiled.
“It feels really good to be able to stay here and hopefully see that new stadium next year,” he said. “I heard they were asking too much. That made me feel a lot better — it meant the chances of me going were very slim.”
At Yankee Stadium, Dye was happy he remained with the White Sox.
“We have a good nucleus here,” he said. “We have most of the guys here, and next year try again.”
In this wild-card era, when the 16 teams playing .500 or better all think they have a chance to make a playoff push, fewer big names seem to be available at the trade deadline each succeeding season.
Trades still can occur if players pass through waivers:
The New York Mets got outfielder Shawn Green and reliever Guillermo Mota after the deadline last year.
Also last season, Detroit obtained infielder Neifi Perez and Philadelphia got first baseman Jeff Conine.
In Tuesday’s other trades:
—Boston sent right-hander Joel Pineiro and cash to St. Louis for a player to be named.
—The White Sox sent utilityman Rob Mackowiak to San Diego for right-hander Jon Link.
—Houston dealt infielder Morgan Ensberg and cash to San Diego for a player to be named or cash.
—Philadelphia obtained right-hander Julio Mateo from Seattle for infielder Jesus Merchan.
—San Francisco sent right-hander Matt Morris to Pittsburgh for center fielder Rajai Davis and a player to be named.