Rangers Deal Smoak, Beaven to Seattle for Cliff Lee
The Texas Rangers late Thursday afternoon dealt 1B Justin Smoak, LHP Blake Beaven, RHP Josh Luecke and OF Matthew Lawson to the Seattle Mariners for LHP Cliff Lee and RP Mark Lowe.
Seattle will pay $2.5 million of Lee's salary allowing the Rangers to stay within their strict budget.
The Rangers have recalled 1B Chris Davis from AAA Oklahoma City to take over for Smoak as the everyday first baseman in the second half.
Matt Harrison will likely remain at AAA Oklahoma City allowing Cliff Lee to make his Rangers debut on Saturday against the Baltimore Orioles.
The addition of Lee to the Rangers rotation gives the club a formidable rotation for the pennant drive and likely means Scott Feldman will be going to the bullpen when Rich Harden and Derek Holland come off the DL.
Harden could find himself in a salary dump deal or the Rangers bullpen as well if he continues to struggle.
Considering the money left on Harden's contract he will probably get at least a start or two, but with Holland also about to return from the DL, Harden will be pitching for his roster spot.
Removing Feldman from the rotation allows the Rangers to replace Dustin Nippert who is having a down year after a solid 2009 season.
Feldman has struggled with his sinker and cutter all season long and will be of more use to the Rangers as the long man in the bullpen.
Easily the most under reported aspect of this deal is the ability of Jon Daniels to not only keep blue chip prospects like Derek Holland, Tanner Scheppers and Martin Perez out of the deal, but he was also able to keep the Rangers bullpen together.
Rumors earlier this week had the Mariners looking at Alexi Ogando who has emerged as one of the Rangers best setup man for closer Neftali Feliz.
By keeping Ogando and any of the Rangers other young arms out of the deal they have an outstanding rotation with one of the best bullpens in baseball at this point of the season.
With the Rangers also near the top of the league in offense and playing solid defense, Cliff Lee could be the final piece of the puzzle.
No excuses now, the Rangers are going for a lot more than a division title in 2010 and for once the front office was able to pull the trigger on a game changing deal.