OFFICIAL: Cliff Lee to Texas Rangers

Yup, it’s official. Cliff Lee and Mark Lowe will be going to Texas in exchange for Justin Smoak, Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke, and Matt Lawson.

Well, what a day.

This is a win-win for the two clubs involved. Seattle gets a very good return. Justin Smoak and Jesus Montero are interchangeable as far as I’m concerned. Both were top prospects entering the season with big time potential offensively. If anything, Smoak is the smarter move since he already is in the Majors, while Montero has struggled somewhat in AAA and still hasn’t put to rest notions that he cannot catch in the majors. However, Montero is projected to be a better hitter, with many comparing him to Miguel Cabrera or Manny Ramirez. While those are pretty optimistic comparisons, you get the idea. He’s also three years younger than Smoak. While David Adams and Zach McAllister are solid prospects, so is Blake Beavan, who has been pitching well in the PCL, a notorious hitters league.

Meanwhile, Texas all but assured themselves the AL West crown and bumped their World Series odds greatly. After the Yankees, I’d give Texas the best odds of winning the World Series over Tampa Bay, Atlanta, or any other team for that matter. They have a great defense, good offense, good bullpen, and now have an ace to compliment Colby Lewis, CJ Wilson, and Tommy Hunter. This team could be scary good from here on out. Yes, I know they are giving up six years of a cost-controlled player who will likely outproduce what Lee gives them the rest of the year. Yes, I know they gave a divisional rival four prospects for three months of Cliff Lee, but Texas has a deep farm system that wasn’t really dug into with this trade. Moreover, unlike New York, the marginal win value for Texas here is pretty big. Texas has never won the World Series before, so taking that into consideration along with everything else at play and it’s understandable as to why Texas would go all in for 2010. Plus, they’ll still get the two draft picks for Cliff Lee when he leaves.

As a Yanks fan, I can’t complain. I am glad we did not give up Jesus Montero and it’s a good thing he went to the financial shit hole that is Texas, because Cliff Lee will not be re-signing with them, making the Yankees the favorites to land him in the off-season. However, chances are we will face Texas in the ALCS. While we are still the better team, but in a seven game series anything can happen. Texas matches up well with us, so it will be a hard fought series. It should make for fascinating theater come October.

And Jack Z is a good, but crude GM. He played this beautifully. He used New York to drive up the price and once he got the offer he wanted from the Yankees, he pulled out to shop Lee around to the other suitors. However, we’ll see if his reputation takes a hit among the other GM’s. GM’s seem to covet their respectability among each other and other GM’s might see how Jack played New York and try to avoid business with him in the future. Either way though, Jack Z did play the game and was a big time winner.

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