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Cliff Lee traded to the Rangers for Justin Smoak, three others

Jul 9, 2010, 5:01 PM EDT

The Mariners have traded Cliff Lee and relief pitcher Mark Lowe to the Rangers for Justin Smoak and three prospects.

According to Larry Stone of the Seattle Times, the prospects are pitchers Blake Beavan and Josh Lueke, and second baseman Matt Lawson. Buster Olney is reporting that Seattle is kicking in
$2.5 million in order to help offset the $4 million in salary owed to Lee. In
return, Texas gave a better package of prospects than they otherwise would have.

This is a fairly astonishing turn of events given how the day has been ruled by rumors of Lee going to the Yankees. The return the Mariners are getting for Lee is fairly astonishing as well.  The inclusion of Smoak in the deal is a coup enough for the Mariners, but three prospects as well is a very tall price for Texas to pay for what is no better than a rental of Cliff Lee.  It may be a great rental — this trade has to make them the favorites in the AL West going forward if they weren’t already, and having Lee in tow will make them a strong team come playoff time — but it’s a rental all the same.

Whether this deal guts the Rangers’ vaunted farm system is unclear. I’m not familiar with Beavan, Lueke, and Lawson, but we’ll do some digging here and find out exactly what Texas has given up.

Either way, this deal may work out for the Rangers, but it’s hard to see how any outcomes short of winning the pennant will make the trade a true success.

  1. easports82 - Jul 9, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    As a Mariner fan, the short term of having Lee beat up on us the rest of the year sucks. But, as a Yankee hater, I’m happy as hell he’s not in pinstripes… yet

  2. Utley's hair - Jul 9, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    Ya gotta feel for Lee. Rube jettisons him to a surefire contender that never contended. Now he’s being thrown to an ownerless franchise that is going nowhere anytime soon. Cliffy, you’ll still get some love here for what you helped accomplish.

  3. Craig Calcaterra - Jul 9, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    “Now he’s being thrown to an ownerless franchise that
    is going nowhere anytime soon. ”
    You know, they are in first place and with him will now probably win the division. Can’t say as much for Philly! 😉

  4. AnClar - Jul 9, 2010 at 5:20 PM

    This is a good deal all around! I’ll miss Smoak..I think he’s going to be a good player for years, even if he is in a bit of a slump ATM. But the thought of having Cliff Lee and Mark Lowe, and the Yankees NOT having Cliff Lee just made my baseball week!!

  5. Md23Rewls - Jul 9, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    Does this really do anything for Texas other than solidify their playoff spot (which was already pretty solid)? I don’t think Lee puts them past any of the big guns in the American League.

  6. TMW - Jul 9, 2010 at 5:33 PM

    Smoak? I’m amazed. Twins, it’s unfortunately time to fold. Do not try to counter.

  7. Mr. Heyward - Jul 9, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    Do I start Cliff Lee in my fantasy league tonight against the Empire?

  8. YankeesfanLen - Jul 9, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    Only five games vs. Rangers, all at home. Really more than happy he helps Rangers along so there’s no chance of meeting pesky Angels during playoffs.

  9. JR - Jul 9, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    The wonderful Mariners have done it again. They’ll never learn. Why not just sign Barry Bonds. Or trade Felix, Vargas and Ichiro for Bonds.

  10. Pete leary - Jul 9, 2010 at 5:42 PM

    Suck an EGG Cashman and Steinbrenner!!!!

  11. SoDakMan - Jul 9, 2010 at 5:46 PM

    This does not bode well for my Twins.

  12. Utley's hair - Jul 9, 2010 at 5:47 PM

    You really think they’re going anywhere after the potential three games (well, now four) after the regular season ends? I don’t.

    And you and your Braves just watch out for the Phightins. Once they’re healthy, they’ll start cleaning up again…I hope…for the sake of my kid…he’s known nothing but success.

  13. Ditto65 - Jul 9, 2010 at 5:47 PM

    Plus, the trade ruined the farm system for years to come, eliminating a chance at longterm Ranger quality. Not getting a pitcher they didn’t need still helps the Yankees.

  14. Ditto65 - Jul 9, 2010 at 5:49 PM

    YEAH! Take the best record in baseball and run with it.

  15. Md23Rewls - Jul 9, 2010 at 5:56 PM

    Yeah, they really stuck it to us. Guess we’ll just have to settle for being the best team in baseball without Lee.

  16. DualLeads - Jul 9, 2010 at 6:06 PM

    That’s funny – just a few hours ago the Yankees were the “sure thing”. Funny still when there’s never any accountability when the speculation goes sideways – just move on over to the next bit of speculation.

  17. Anon - Jul 9, 2010 at 6:07 PM

    What does this have to do with the Twins? Sure, they were interested in Lee. But the Rangers getting better affects the Twins the same way it affects the White Sox, Tigers, Angels, Rays, and Red Sox. A good team in the AL just got better. That doesn’t make anyone happy, but the Twins no different than any other non-Yankee team in the AL.

  18. Boo Hoo Florio picked on your team - GET OVER IT - Jul 9, 2010 at 6:09 PM

    Good for the Rangers! They have a deep minor league system. This’ll help them get further into the playoffs and also be more attractive to prospective buyers. True, Lee is a rental, but there’s no reason to criticize them for trying and who knows? Cliff may end up loving the Ranger franchise too much to leave in the offseason.

  19. Maxa - Jul 9, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    So the Mariners effectively turned Phillipe Aumont, J.C. Ramirez and Tyson Gilles into Justin Smoak et. al? Not too shabby!

  20. Boo Hoo Florio picked on your team - GET OVER IT - Jul 9, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    Craig doesn’t like being held accountable for jumping the gun all things Yankees-wise. Shh!

  21. iliketexas - Jul 9, 2010 at 6:18 PM

    what? they did not ruin their farm system, they have one of the best so they have more than 4 prospects, they did not give up one of their top 5 pitchers, they still have all their studs except for smoak, so i say good trade and the rangers still have a top farm system
    plus if we dont resign him we get two draft picks to go back into our farm system

  22. Md23Rewls - Jul 9, 2010 at 6:20 PM

    The Yankee thing wasn’t just “speculation.” It was, by all reports, extremely close to getting done. Would you prefer that reporters just not report when trades are in the works? If they only reported when things were 100% done, people would complain that they’re being kept in the dark. Can’t have it both ways.

  23. Schlom - Jul 9, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    I wonder what the perception of Smoak would be if he was a later round selection rather than the 11th overall pick. Just looking at his overall stats (minors and majors) he’s not exactly a player most teams would be interested in – in fact Kyle Blanks has always been better (at younger ages) than him.

  24. bigtrav425 - Jul 9, 2010 at 7:17 PM

    Atleast the Yanks didnt get him!! thanks Texas!

  25. Buccofan - Jul 10, 2010 at 12:34 AM

    Exactly. Look at Matt Holliday last year. He was just supposed to be a “rental”, too.

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