Greetings from Anaheim! I wasn't planning to blog today, as I came out a day early to get the family situated and perhaps hit Disneyland. But then again, I wasn't planning to spend all day yesterday working the phones, blogging and tweeting. Good Lord, what a day.
The interesting upshot of Cliff Lee's future being resolved is that the rest of this month should appear anti-climactic in comparison. Never say never, but I certainly don't see a higher-impact player than Lee being traded. Unless the Astros or Diamondbacks are more poor than they're letting on and decide to sell Roy Oswalt and Dan Haren for pennies on the dollar, we might actually get bored.
Didn't get time to fully break everything down yesterday, thanks to my travel plans, but this trade is really a remarkable triumph for Texas and general manager Jon Daniels. It validates a plan put into action when Daniels traded Mark Teixeira nearly three years ago, and concurrently convinced his owner Tom Hicks - pre-bankruptcy - to spend over slot on the amateur draft.
Justin Smoak was such an over-slot pick, back in 2008, and perhaps he could've been the next Teixeira in Texas. But as NaOH pointed out, this is a Rangers team that has won one playoff game in its 49-year history. One! If ever a team should go for it, it's this team.
The Rangers were handicapped by their financial status, but their farm system is so deep that they could give away enough prospects to convince the Mariners to kick in $2.5 million for Lee. The Yankees would've paid all $4 milion for Lee, but that just shows how much more Seattle liked Smoak than Jesus Montero.
The Yankees are annoyed by the way it all went down, and my sense from speaking to industry folks is that their annoyance is somewhat justified. At mid-day yesterday, interested clubs were convinced - by Seattle's words and actions - that Lee was about to be a Yankee. The Yankees think that the Mariners used the concerns over David Adams' ankle injury to buy time, and that's when the Rangers re-entered the picture with Smoak.
Talent rules the day, but some teams have better trading relationships. For instance, Brian Cashman used to love making deals with former San Diego GM Kevin Towers, who now works as an adviser for Cashman. Right now, I would describe the Yankees' and Mariners' relationship as poor. Doesn't mean a trade will never happen, but yesterday's proceedings will make future dealings more difficult.
CC Sabathia said he and Lee were speaking as though the deal was done, and just to clarify, the rumors about Javier Vazquez being dealt for Philadelphia's Jayson Werth were only rumors. Not a grain of truth to them, from everything I gathered.
Here's the column I wrote, expanding on my blogged idea that Lee to the Rangers is good for baseball.
The Mets were never serious candidates to get Lee, because while they finally are seeing some fruits of their farm system blossom, they certainly couldn't afford to trade Ike Davis. The Mets would pay only a rental price for Lee, because they didn't want to commit huge, long-term dollars to the lefty. Having one over-30 pitcher making over $20 million a yer is nerve-wracking enough, as the Mets have seen with Johan Santana. Having two? That's just stupidity.
(Yup, I'm talking to you, Yankees. Which is why, again, I think the Yankees will try to limit Lee to four years this winter.)
--No live TV on my flight, which meant that I watched "Made of Honor" (terrible, even after you lower your standards for a plane) and "How to Train Your Dragon" (I gave up and went to sleep after 10 minutes), so here's the insight I can offer on last night's games:
1) The Mets lost.
2) The Yankees won.
--Jose Reyes is playing through pain.
--My Sunday Insider, featuring the Midseason Awards, is already on line, which means I might not post tomorrow until I've arrived and done some work at the Futures Game. For some bizarre reason, my MVPs are missing. They are Justin Morneau in the American League and Josh Johnson in the National League.
--Have a great day.