Saturday, July 10, 2010

Special Delivery - Lee Coming to Texas...

Despite recent struggles with it's ownership situation, the Texas Rangers have added a bona-fide ace in Seattle Mariners starter Cliff Lee.

Just when you thought the New York Yankees would add yet another weapon to it's evil empire, the Rangers swooped in and took the pitcher with the best ERA in the American League.

"We haven't won anything yet but we feel like we're in our best position to put our best foot forward," Rangers' GM Jon Daniels said.
"We've always said if we had a chance to improve, we would. We're excited about it."

This significantly bolsters the Rangers' starting rotation and gives them the number one, Ace of the rotation this team has lacked all-season long. Lee has won each of his previous four games, going the distance in three and going eight innings in the other, and has allowed only five total earned runs over that timespan. Overall, Lee is 8-3 this season with a 2.34 ERA, 89 strike-outs and astonishingly only six walks in 103 2-3 innings this season. Lee won the A.L. Cy Young in 2008 with the Cleveland Indians.

Texas also gets Mark Lowe, a reliever who hasn't pitched since May 2, ironically a game against the Rangers in which he allowed the go-ahead run in extra innings. He's been on the disabled list since May 5 and likely won't pitch again this season.

The Trade (According to Rangers' sources):

Texas Gets: SP Cliff Lee RP Mark Lowe

Seattle Gets: 1B Justin Smoak P Blake Beaven P Josh Lueke 2B/OF Mathew Lawson

Texas gives up a couple of blue-chip prospects in Beaven and current starting third-baseman Justin Smoak, but that's what it costs to get a guy as talented as Lee. First-baseman Chris Young was called up from Triple-A and will start for Texas tonight.

Texas already has the fourth-best ERA in the American League at 3.94, 10th-best in the Majors, so this move only bolsters already what has become the best Rangers' pitching staff in ages. In fact, Texas hasn't had a team ERA under 4.00 for a season since it moved to the Ballpark in Arlington in 1994.

Overall, this a great trade for the Rangers (as long as it goes through) that builds some excitement and gives this team some credibility as it makes it's playoff push. Lee provides this team with the best pitcher they've had since the days of Rick Helling and Kenny Rogers or, if your really optimistic, the best Rangers' pitcher since Nolan Ryan - although even Ryan never won a Cy Young.

If he makes it in town tonight, Lee is likely to make his highly-anticipated first start for Texas Saturday night.

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