Yesterday I returned home from a 3 week stint working at a Young Life camp. Without cell phone service and limited internet connections, I wasn’t able to keep up with sports the way I usually do. But what a day yesterday was to return to the real World. As soon as I got cell phone service I received a text message from Matthew saying that the Mariners were about to trade Cliff Lee for Jesus Montero. I was ecstatic about this. When I left this kind of offer was a little bit crazy to even dream about.
Then, the deal was off. Some people say it was Adams ankle injury that ended this deal. I’m no expert but that’s not the case. The deal was off because the Rangers offered Justin Smoak. No one knows if Smoak will be better than Montero at this point. There’s only so much scouting reports can tell us and they sure can’t predict the future. If there is one thing that our GM excels at though it’s talent evaluation so we have to trust him at this point, in my opinion. By now, if you’re at all interested in the Mariners you’ve heard the scouting reports. Justin Smoak is an above average defender with a bat that should hit for a pretty good average and 25-30 home runs. He has a good eye and is a switch hitter (although he has some pretty drastic splits thus far). I’ve heard comparisons from John Olerud to Mark Teixeira but the one I most agree with after reading everything available is Adrian Gonzalez.
The 2 pitchers acquired should be contributors in the future. One is in the mold of a Doug Fister type starter except with a little more velocity. The reliever seems to be a pretty standard guy. He has a plus fastball and slider and has amazing K/BB rates in the minors. He could be in the bullpen by next year. The other guy might turn out, he might not.
I’m excited about this deal. Cliff Lee might have given the Seattle Mariners the best 2 months of pitching they’ve ever had. I could do a whole different post on this but, to put a long story short, he was absolutely amazing. He might go help the Rangers win the World Series. Which leads me to the question that many fans might be asking, “Should I still cheer for Cliff Lee even if he’s playing for a division rival?” My answer is yes. I mean, why not? The Mariners are not going to come back in this division and the Rangers are an exciting team. They have young talent that’s easy to root for. It’s not like Cliff Lee is going to re-sign with them anyway. As of yesterday the Rangers became the AL team that I will cheer for to make the World Series.
Back to the trade, it is awesome for a couple of reason. This trade will not hurt the Mariners this year because the Mariners suck this year. This trade won’t hurt the Mariners in the future because Cliff Lee won’t be there in the future. You know who will be with the Mariners in the future? Justin Smoak. I saw a commenter at Lookout Landing say we basically just made a prospect swap, dropping Phillipe Aumont, Tyson Gillies, and Juan Ramirez and picking up Justin Smoak, Blake Beaven, Josh Lueke, and Matt Lawson all the while we got to see some of the best pitching anyone has ever seen. The prospect swap was awesome by Baseball America standards.
Both of the big names made their debuts tonight and both were bad. Don’t read into this. We all know Cliff Lee is awesome and Smoak is still in his rookie season figuring things out. This trade will definitely not be “won” or “lost” by the Mariners this year. We won’t be able for figure that out for a few years. I would argue that it’s almost impossible for the Mariners to lose this trade but I’ll save that. The Rangers could lose this one easily, I think. Although they won’t if they go on to win the World Series.
The game tonight was awesome. Lopez barely hit that ball out (classic Jose Lopez) but when he dropped that bat and looked towards the dugout I could feel the frustration he released with that hit. I don’t care for Lopez as a baseball player but you have to feel for him, along with countless other Mariners, as he is having just an awful year. It was the first game I’ve got to watch since coming home and it was so much fun to watch. I sure do hate the Yankees.
Well this post has rambled on long enough. I have too much to say and not enough patience to organize those thoughts right now. I’ll just end with this: Good job Mariners, in a season that’s gone incredibly wrong, the last 2 days worked out about as well as they could have.