Friday, July 9, 2010

MARINERS BREAKING: After Trade Musical Chairs, Lee Ends Up in Texas

In a day filled with rumor, conjecture, and finished deals that were never finished, Cliff Lee finally leaves the Mariners after weeks of trade speculation. He will be joining the inter-division rival Texas Rangers along with RHP Mark Lowe for hard-hitting first baseman Justin Smoak.

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Smoak, the centerpiece of the deal, is a recent call-up to the Rangers and can easily be the first baseman of the future for the M's. He provides a strong bat for the middle of the lineup with excellent defensive skills.

Earlier in the day, the New York Yankees were rumored to send their top prospect Jesus Montero with two prospects to Seattle. The deal fell through when the Rangers offer was on the table and Nick Adams, a second baseman prospect of New York, gave the Mariners worry about his ankle.

With Smoak as a heavily-sought centerpiece, the Mariners jumped at the opportunity. The return on investment from the original prospects Seattle sent to acquire Lee is phenomenal if there is any value in RHP Blake Beavan, RHP Josh Lueke, and 2B Matt Lawson, as reported by Larry Stone. With the Rangers having the best farm system in baseball, it’s highly likely this is some of Jack Zduriencik’s finest work.

The pitcher taking Lee’s position in the rotation tonight has yet to be announced, but rumor has Michael Pineda making his major league debut, as he’s scheduled to start in Tacoma tonight. In his last start with the AAA team, he took a perfect game into the 6th inning in Salt Lake City.

Reach M. Wend at