UPDATE 3 p.m. : It's a done deal
Here's Jack Z's statement from the release.
“This is a bittersweet day for us. While we are excited about the group of young players we have acquired from the Rangers, it’s never easy to trade a player like Cliff Lee, who has been outstanding here. We decided that if we were able to acquire the amount of talent we wanted, we would make a deal for Cliff. We concluded that these four players fit very well into our long-term plans, and at the same time we obtained some immediate help for our offense. Justin Smoak has a chance to be a special player, and we regard Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Matt Lawson highly as well,” said Zduriencik.
“The process of building a World Championship team, which is what we’re doing here, is based on continually acquiring more top talent for the organization. We were able to accomplish that in this deal with the Rangers. And we believe we have taken another step closer to winning a championship in the future with this trade,” he added.
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The twittersphere (yes that's a word now) has been going non-stop with Cliff Lee rumors. It first started this morning with the report by Joel Sherman of the NY Post that Lee was headed to the Yankees for top catching prospect Jesus Montero, second baseman David Adams and another player.
But just as everybody had put their head around the idea that Lee might be joining the Evil Empire, Sherman reported that the deal fell through. And that another team had jumped into the fray.
That team: The Texas Rangers.
Yes, the Mariners are trading in division. The report, according to multiple sources, is that Seattle would send Cliff Lee, reliever Mark Lowe, who is recovering from back surgery and cash to the Rangers, who would send back first baseman Justin Smoak and three other prospects.
Several Dallas outlets are reporting that the Rangers have called a 5 p.m. press conference.
For those of you unfamiliar with Smoak, he's a switch-hitting first baseman, who was called up early in the season and has played in 70 games as the Rangers starting first baseman. Yes, he's only hitting .209 (49-for-235) with 8 homers and 34 RBI but his on-base percentage is .316 and he's had 38 walks, but this is first time in the big leagues and he's only going to get better.
Smoak has been compared to a few different players - Mark Teixeira (they are both switch hitters and good fielders), Adrian Gonzalez (ability to hit for average as well as power).
Don't let the numbers fool you initially, this is a major get for the Mariners. He solidifies a position of need for years to come.
Beavan is a 6-7, 250-pound starter who is 10-5 with 2.78 ERA in 17 starts with Triple A Oklahoma City.He has 68 strikeouts and just 12 walks in 110 innings pitched. He was the Rangers first-round pick in 2007 (No. 17).
Lueke is a 6-5, 220-pound reliever, who in stops in A and AA has 62 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings pitched.
Lawson is hitting .277 with seven homers and 34 RBI with Class AA Frisco, he also has a .381 OBP.