Breaking News: Rangers Acquire Cliff Lee In Trade With Mariners

Ian Malone@ianthomasmaloneCorrespondent IIIJuly 9, 2010

SEATTLE - JUNE 02:  Starting pitcher Cliff Lee #36 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Minnesota Twins at Safeco Field on June 2, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Evil Empire might have a lot of championships and money. But they don't have the 2008 AL Cy Young winner. 

The Texas Rangers acquired starting pitcher Cliff Lee from the Seattle Mariners for first basemen Justin Smoak, pitchers Blake Beaven and Josh Lueke, and infielder/outfielder Matt Lawson. 

Lee is 8-3 on the season with a phenomenal 2.34 ERA

Seattle traded for Lee in an attempt to send the Mariners to the playoffs, which at the time seemed like a realistic possibility. However, after a miserable start that included the retirement of Ken Griffey Jr., a playoff berth seemed pretty unrealistic. 

The New York Yankees appeared to be the frontrunners after offering up prized catching prospect Jesus Montero. The Minnesota Twins were also believed to be involved. They offered catching prospects as well. 

Obviously, these two deals must not have included much else since the Mariners traded Lee to a division rival.

Lee joins a fairly loaded Rangers roster which includes five All-Stars. Four of the five All -Stars are hitters, though, and reliever Neftali Feliz is the team's only pitcher headed to Anaheim.

The Rangers have a 5.5 game lead over the Los Angeles Angels for first place in the American League West. Adding Cliff Lee was not only crucial for Texas' postseason success, but crucial in their bid for October at all. Texas has been notorious for their second half meltdowns over the past few years. 

While Colby Lewis and C.J. Wilson have been superb in the first half, Lee gives the team a true Ace with postseason experience. 

Lee was 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA during last year;s postseason with the Phillies. He was 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA against the New York Yankees in the World Series. 

Can Lee make Texas a postseason favorite? Only time will tell. 

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