I guess the Padres were not willing to rape their farm system to get Cliff Lee.
Today the Texas Rangers agreed to a deal that will send 4 of their top prospects including Uber-prospect Justin Smoak to the Seattle Mariners for Lee and middle reliever Mark Lowe and about $2.5 million to help the bankrupt Rangers pay the balance of Lee's 2010 salary.
To beat out the New York Yankees for a 3 month rental of Cliff Lee, the Rangers have essentially given up their starting catcher of the future and 3 of the top 20 prospects in their system, all of whom were at AA this season.
They mortgaged the future on the hopes of making a deep run in the playoffs this season.
Was it a mistake?
In my eyes, yes.
Over his 7 starts in Rangers Ballpark, Lee has a miserable 7.62 ERA and a .311 BAA. Not exactly comforting numbers for the Rangers faithful. He has not exactly been lights out in Oakland Coliseum or Angels Stadium either, turning in an ERA over 4.30.
And for 3 months of Lee, or more specifically to keep the Yankees from getting 3 months of Lee's pitching, the Rangers sent the Mariners their 2007 (Blake Beavan) and 2008 (Smoak) 1st round picks plus 2 other promising prospects in fireball throwing LHP Josh Lueke and 2B Matt Lawson.
How good is the package the Rangers sent to the Mariners?
- Smoak will step into the Mariners roster immediately, forcing out Casey Kotchman.
- Lueke can likely step in to replace Lowe in the Mariners bullpen immediately. He has been very good at AA Frisco this season.
- Beavan is just 21 years old and is considered one of the top prospects in the Rangers system and is one of the youngest pitchers in the AA Texas League.
- Lawson is a power hitting 2B that will likely be fighting with Dustin Ackley for playing time in the Mariners infield next season, especially if Jose Lopez's option is not picked up.
All I can say is that the Rangers better make it to the World Series or this trade could come back to haunt them for years to come.