Seattle Mariners Ship Cliff Lee To Texas Rangers For Boatload of Prospects

Brian Shannon@bshannon15Correspondent IJuly 9, 2010

NEW YORK - JUNE 29:  Cliff Lee #36 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on June 29, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

The Mariners have traded Cliff Lee and injured reliever Mark Lowe for Justin Smoak and three minor leaguers. The minor leaguers are AA pitchers Blake Beavan and Josh Lueke and AA second baseman Matt Lawson.

The Mariners had no choice but to trade Lee after falling well behind in the AL West, and seem to have pulled off a deal that will help the team not only now, but in the future.

Smoak has been the Rangers starting first baseman for a good part of the season and in 235 at bats is hitting .209 with eight homeruns and 34 RBI. Smoak's numbers aren't very impressive so far this season, but he is still young, at only 23, and has a lot of potential.

Smoak was the Rangers first round selection in 2008, and is an athletic player who switch hits, and has the ability to hit for power. He gives the Mariners something they have been severely lacking in their lineup, a potential power threat.

Smoak has the ability to develop into a potential number five hitter and was ranked by Baseball America as the number two prospect in the Rangers farm system before the season began, behind only Neftali Feliz.

Smoak was rated as the best hitter for average, best power hitter, and best strike-zone discipline out of all Rangers prospects.

The Mariners also received another former first round selection by adding Beavan.

Beavan was the Rangers first round pick in 2007, and has the potential to be a solid middle of the rotation starter in Seattle.

Beavan was rated as the pitcher with the best command in the Rangers farm system and has only walked 12 batters in 110 innings in AA so far this season. He is a big kid, 6'7" and 250 pounds, and he is only 21 years old.

Lueke is a pitcher out of the bullpen that could eventually see time in Seattle, with a fastball that is in the mid 90's and tops out at 97. Lueke has struck out 62 batters in 38.1 innings this year between LoA and AA ball.

The final piece coming to Seattle is second baseman Matt Lawson, a AA prospect who is hitting .277 with seven homeruns and 34 RBI. Lawson has been solid in the field with only six errors on the season and could be a solid utility player for the Mariners down the line.

The Mariners had been rumored to be in talks with the Yankees to receive top prospect Jesus Montero earlier in the day but that deal fell apart based on the other pieces coming Seattle's way.

The Mariners did a great job using the leverage they gained through talks with the Yankees to get other teams to step up to the plate and make a legitimate offer for Lee. The Rangers finally decided to part with Smoak, which is what Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik had been waiting for all along.

The Mariners got a potential power bat for years to come with good athletic ability for a first baseman, and a pitcher in Beavan who could potentially be in the Mariners rotation for a long time. Prospects are prospects, so you never know, but the Mariners did a great job getting some guys that have the tools to succeed at the Major League level.

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