When we produced the first draft of the 2010 Trade Deadline Primer (now available) last week, here was the introductory paragraph (written by Scott Lucas of The Newberg Report) for the Texas Rangers:
"The Rangers have marketed their 2010 club with the slogan 'It’s Time,' asserting that they won’t settle for mere prospect development and a polite stab at contention. Despite financial constraints, the Rangers geared their offseason toward a legitimate run at the division title. During spring training and the season, roster decisions have largely reflected a 'win now' mentality that stands in bold relief against most of the post-Alex Rodriguez era."
Little did we understand how prescient that was. Now it includes a final sentence:
And that has now culminated in a four-for-one trade for Cliff Lee.
The bottom line is that the Texas Rangers were just plain more willing to go after this thing very hard. They also might have been a little lucky that the Mariners (and most commentators) value the main prospect so highly.
Justin Smoak, for some reason is considered to be gold grade. Looking at his minor league record and availability, I'm surprise more people aren't asking if it's really fools gold. He's supposed to be a powerful middle-of-the-order presence for many years, but he's got all of 17 home runs in his 2+ years in the minors. He's also 23-years-old (a year older than Wilson Ramos), plays first base, and has yet to show he's mastered AAA, let alone the majors.
And the rest?
- Blake Beavan is Twins type of pitcher, strike-throwing, low strikeout rate, good at getting grounders. He'll start at AAA. I'd liken him to Jeff Manship.
- Josh Lueke is a pitcher in AA who is striking lots of guys out, but he's also 25 years old. Oh, and he was arrested last year for rape and sodomy, though he eventually agreed to a lesser charge of false imprisonment with violence. By the way, apparently for a first offense you can get just 40 days in jail for that.
- Matthew Lawson is a 24-year-old second baseman who has an 809 OPS in AA this year.
So, I guess I'm puzzled. I can't figure out how the Twins got outbid here. And I can't figure out why everyone is so quick to praise Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik, other than the fact that it's Jack Zduriencik, and he had one hell of a good first year on the job.
It's worth noting that his second year has been almost as bad as his first year was good. He was praised for taking a 61-win team and turning them into an 85-win team in one year. Well, guess how many wins the Mariners are on pace for this year? A: 65. A four-win improvement in two years is a little less impressive.
So What's Next?
Gimme 24 hours and we'll delve into it. Frankly, both myself and my family are a little burned out by the publishing of the Trade Deadline Primer, which you can now order for $9.95. Or you can download a free "quaterbook." (Because it's about 1/4 of the whole, book. Get it?)
If you get either, you'll see a list of starting pitchers that will be available. That will be tomorrow's starting point.