Well it is finally over, the Cliff Lee sweepstakes ended today with Lee traded to the Texas Rangers along with Mark Lowe for Justin Smoak and three prospects. Apparently the Mariners are having to send over two million dollars as well to complete the deal. So once again we find ourselves in the familiar position of trading away another star for prospects so we can rebuild. Granted Justin Smoak is a young first baseman with some power but for us fans it is another reminder of our role as a farm-club for the rest of Major league baseball.
As the day broke it looked like Cliff Lee was going to the Yankees in exchange for Jesus Montero and David Adams, but apparently the Mariners had concerns with the health of David Adams. The Rangers who are making a serious run for the play-offs threw-in pitchers Josh Lueke, Blake Beaven and AA infielder Matthew Lawson. Not quite sure how this helps the Mariners as we already have Russell Branyan and Casey Kotchman at first, but who are we to question why as ours is but to trade and cry.
Mark Lowe though on the DL for the year was very effective last year coming in to set-up David Aardsma. I am not sure why we did not try to get some help for our current bullpen which is a disaster so far this year. But Jack Zduriencik has announced that we got the best deal possible and he had his eye on Smoak all along. I was also shocked to hear Jack Z. say our goal is to build a World Championship team. It is funny that the goal of reaching the World Series is never mentioned until we are in the rebuilding mode after a big trade, whereas the party-line is always “we are going to put a competitive team on the field”. Sounds like the old bait-n-switch trick to me in order to keep the fans buying tickets to support this never-ending rebuilding process.
So now the spin will start….
Will the local press get onboard and cheer for Jack Z. in order to keep their access like in the past? I don’t know but it is another sour day for the fans who have suffered through years of rebuilding and disappointment only to be reminded about the progress of ex-Mariners in the news, as if that somehow makes it better. I for one don’t want to read constant updates about Cliff Lee like we have had to with Griffey, Moyer, and Randy Johnson etc. after they were traded. The whole Cliff Lee saga has been agonizing and I am not excited about the final outcome but I am glad it is finally over.
I am still going down to Safeco to watch the game though I hear that David Pauley is starting instead of Cliff Lee tonight against the Yankees. This trade is not as devastating as the Randy Johnson trade in 1998, but the state of this franchise is certainly in much worse shape after this trade than we were in 1998. Like a lot of you I enjoyed watching Lee pitch this year and wish him well in the future as we languish behind in AAA Seattle. http://jeffsmariners.com