• Cliff Lee Winds Up In Texas

    Posted by on July 9th, 2010 · Comments (15)

    According to Ken Rosenthal’s Twitter feed (which I would link to but don’t have access to here at work), the M’s got 1B/DH Justin Smoak and three minor league prospects.  The prospects are RHP Blake Beavan (AAA), RHP Josh Lueke (AA) and 2B/OF Matthew Lawson (AA).

    I can’t independently verify this but I can tell you that this package is no slouchy tease.  The Yanks didn’t get played here at all.  They put their best chip on the table and Texas anted up with the #1 positional prospect in their system.

    Update 5:55 p.m.: Both USA Today and NBC Sports are confirming the package of prospects going from Texas to Seattle.

    In my opinion, NBC Sports’s spin completely misses the point.  Seattle got the MLB-ready bat they needed in order to get this deal done and, no matter how highly everyone may think of Montero, Justin Smoak is already in the big leagues.  The secondary pieces were all window-dressing, both the ones the Yanks were offering and the ones Texas gave up.  Let’s not lose sight of that.

    Update 6:30 p.m.: According to ESPN.com’s story, Justin Smoak was the final piece to the trade puzzle between Seattle and Texas.

    A source told ESPN.com that Seattle and Texas were very close to a deal for Lee on Wednesday. But the Mariners were pushing for Smoak, the Rangers balked and the deal stalled.

    So on Thursday, the Mariners turned their attention to the Yankees and began closing in on that deal. But when those talks blew up, the Rangers — who by then were aware of all the reports about that Seattle-New York deal — got back into the picture and agreed to trade Smoak. So the pieces came together very quickly at that point because the two teams almost had a deal done 48 hours earlier.

    I added the emphasis to highlight the fact that Texas relented on their initial objection to dealing Smoak for Lee.  That alone should give Yankees fans comfort that, although they didn’t get their man, Cashman’s willingness to include Jesus Montero forced Texas to pay a higher price than they were initially willing to pay.  That’s a good thing.

    Update 8:44 a.m.: Baseball America’s website has the following write-up of the trade.  At present, they’ve only profiled Smoak and Lueke but I assume that if you check back on that link, it’ll be updated as they complete their player reports.  If I were actually at home instead of at my girl’s house, I’d add in comments from BA’s top-30 profile scouting reports.  I’m certain Beavan was among Texas’s top-30 going into this year.

    Comments on Cliff Lee Winds Up In Texas

    1. Corey Italiano
      July 9th, 2010 | 6:11 pm

      This also makes no mention of the fact that there is most definitely a “Yankee Tax”

    2. MJ Recanati
      July 9th, 2010 | 6:18 pm

      Corey Italiano wrote:

      This also makes no mention of the fact that there is most definitely a “Yankee Tax”

      I actually don’t see where the Yankee tax would be in this?

      Montero/Adams/McAllister doesn’t seem overly burdensome to me considering that (1) Smoak’s already in the big leagues and (2) McAllister isn’t exactly setting the world on fire in AAA this season.

      As a Yankee fan that definitely wanted the Montero-for-Lee trade to happen, yeah, I’m a bit disappointed. But I can’t say that the Rangers got Lee for a song, either.

    3. Raf
      July 9th, 2010 | 6:18 pm

      Corey Italiano wrote:

      This also makes no mention of the fact that there is most definitely a “Yankee Tax”

      I don’t think that’s particularly accurate. Especially considering that the M’s are sending money to the Rangers.

    4. Corey Italiano
      July 9th, 2010 | 6:29 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:
      The Yankee tax being that they wanted more from the Yankees to make the deal done with them.

    5. JeremyM
      July 9th, 2010 | 6:34 pm

      Well, he didn’t end up in Tampa or Boston, so I’m satisfied. That said, I had come around on the Yankees deal and was all for it. And they get to duck facing Lee tonight, so that’s not a bad deal in and of itself.

      So will he make his first on-field appearance as a Ranger in the All-Star game? I assume he will start this weekend, but if not, that would be interesting. The Yanks apparently did not plan to start him this weekend.

    6. MJ Recanati
      July 9th, 2010 | 6:36 pm

      Corey Italiano wrote:

      The Yankee tax being that they wanted more from the Yankees to make the deal done with them.

      We don’t have any reason to believe that. According to the reports out there, Seattle had a deal in place with the Yanks, used David Adams’s ankle injury as an excuse to derail the deal and then got it done with Texas when they agreed to trade Justin Smoak.

      I don’t see any reason to believe that the Yanks could’ve trumped Texas’s offer, otherwise Seattle’s GM would’ve gone back to the Yanks and told them “Texas will give me Smoak, can you top it?”

    7. Corey Italiano
      July 9th, 2010 | 6:38 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:
      You really think they didn’t go back to the Yankees? They’d only gain from that.

      That would, in my opinion, classify the Rangers’ GM as one of the worst in baseball.

    8. Raf
      July 9th, 2010 | 6:40 pm

      Corey Italiano wrote:

      @ MJ Recanati:
      The Yankee tax being that they wanted more from the Yankees to make the deal done with them.

      The deal was just about equal in talent, it’s that Smoak can help the M’s now, Montero can help them later.

    9. MJ Recanati
      July 9th, 2010 | 6:42 pm

      Corey Italiano wrote:

      You really think they didn’t go back to the Yankees? They’d only gain from that.

      I have no way of knowing if Seattle did or didn’t go back to the Yankees. Assuming for a second that they did, I still don’t see the Yankee tax. It’s just as possible that Seattle went to every other GM interested in Lee and asked those teams to top the Smoak offer. Would that represent a Twins/Rays/Mets tax?

      Corey Italiano wrote:

      That would, in my opinion, classify the Rangers’ GM as one of the worst in baseball.

      I assume you mean Seattle’s and not Texas’s GM.

    10. MJ Recanati
      July 9th, 2010 | 6:44 pm

      @ Corey Italiano:
      Just to be clear, yes, I do believe that there is such a thing as the “Yankee Tax.” However, I don’t believe that’s what happened here. Seattle wanted Justin Smoak and couldn’t get him earlier in the week. When Cashman included Montero and Texas realized it was Smoak or no Lee, they made their move. Thus, I don’t see the Yankee tax at play here.

    11. Corey Italiano
      July 9th, 2010 | 6:46 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      I assume you mean Seattle’s and not Texas’s GM.

      Mea Culpa. I did mean Seattle’s GM.

      I just don’t see why he wouldn’t go back to the Yankees and say that? I would think he’s a fool if he didn’t. The name of the game is getting the best possible deal.

      It’s just as possible that Seattle went to every other GM interested in Lee and asked those teams to top the Smoak offer. Would that represent a Twins/Rays/Mets tax?

      That depends on your opinion entirely of the packages offered. You clearly know mine.

    12. Evan3457
      July 9th, 2010 | 6:54 pm

      I don’t know the other prospects that well, but I think Adams is a better prospect than anyone in the Texas deal other than Smoak.

      Something here does not meet the eye. Not sure what, though.

    13. MJ Recanati
      July 9th, 2010 | 10:58 pm

      @ Evan3457:
      Not completely sure I agree, Evan. What incentive would Seattle’s GM have to take a worse package? By getting Smoak — the best player discussed in today’s packages — and a back-end starter in Beavan, I’d say Seattle got a very good haul for the 2+ month rental they’re giving Texas.

      I think Adams is an OK prospect, not as good as his hitting line indicates but certainly more than just a utility guy, but the fact remains that Seattle preferred a MLB-ready hitter to two MiLB hitters that won’t be in the big leagues before 2011 at the earliest.

    14. Evan3457
      July 10th, 2010 | 1:22 am

      Not sure I agree Smoak has a higher celing than Montero; in fact, I’d rather have Montero, all things considered.

      He is certainly further advanced than Montero, but even that could change by this time next year.

    15. MJ Recanati
      July 10th, 2010 | 7:22 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Not sure I agree Smoak has a higher celing than Montero; in fact, I’d rather have Montero, all things considered.

      But he certainly has a higher floor and, considering he’s in the big leagues and has a position, I have to think that the good upside with much lower downside makes him the safest and best get possible for a team like the M’s.

    Leave a reply

    You must be logged in to post a comment.