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Cliff Lee NOT Traded to the Yankees, but IS now a Ranger!!!
- Updated: July 10, 2010
Biggest Trade of 2010 Season Occurs With Added Drama
From the words of Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels, the Rangers, not Yankees, are the winners of the Cliff Lee sweepstakes. They will be sending star 1B prospect Justin Smoak, and minor leaguers RHP Blake Beavin, RHP Josh Lueke, and utility man Matt Lawson to the Mariners. The Rangers also receive RHP Mark Lowe and $2.5 million in cash.
In the Rangers press conference, it was announced Lee will start his first game as a Ranger tomorrow. Lee was scheduled to start today as a Mariner versus the Yankees.
After a morning of reports of a near-certain deal with the Yankees, the Rangers made a strong push to land the ace southpaw. At least for today, Yankees biggest trade chip C/DH prospect Jesus Montero will remain in their organization.
Lee is a major addition to the Rangers, as he goes to the top of the rotation, bumps everyone else down a slot, which gives them an ace for the rest of the season instead of a replacement-level #5 production. Lee’s rest-of-season ZiPS projection of a 3.11 FIP would give the Rangers an additional 3 WAR. Lowe will provide value to the Rangers in the bullpen in 2011 and beyond, as he is on the DL for the rest of 2010.
With the Rangers already 7.5 games ahead of the second place Angels, they had an 83.7 percent chance of making the playoffs without Lee, so this deal is clearly a move to improve their odds to advance in the playoffs. The Rangers in their history have never played in a League Championship Series or World Series.
For the Mariners, the 23-year-old Smoak becomes a long term answer at first base and is under club control for 6 years. A switch-hitter and solid defensive first baseman, he has drawn comparisons from prospect mavins to Mark Teixeira. Beavin, 21, touches the mid-90s with his fastball and has displayed excellent control in Double-A Frisco with a 0.94 BB/9 and projects as a mid-rotation starter. Lueke, 25, is old compared to his peers in High-A and Double-A but owns a 1.73 FIP this season. It will be a surprise if Lawson, 24, ever becomes a Major Leaguer.