Category Archives: Trade Review

Trade Review – Vernon Wells to the Angels


Holy crap! I wasn’t expecting any more big moves this offseason. And I definitely wasn’t expecting this. Today the Angels finally figured out who to spend some of their money on, and also managed to unload some of their depth at catcher. The Angels acquired a new center fielder, Vernon Wells, from the Blue Jays in exchange for catcher Mike Napoli, outfielder Juan Rivera, and $5 million in cash.

Los Angeles Angels

The Angels have added a solid defender and a player coming off of a very good season. Wells hit .273/.331/.515 with 31 home runs and 88 runs batted in last year, but his splits from 2010 are a bit troubling: Continue reading

Trade Review – Matt Garza to the Cubs


Another starting pitcher came off the trade market on Friday, as the Rays traded starter Matt Garza and minor leaguers Fernando Perez and Zach Rosscup to the Cubs in exchange for prospects Chris Archer, Robinson Chirinos, Brandon Guyer, Hak-Ju Lee, and Sam Fuld.

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs acquire Garza coming off what was probably his best season to date, as he posted a 15-10 record with a 3.91 ERA, 150 strikeouts and a 1.25 WHIP for the Rays. They will add him to a rather deep rotation already, with Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Carlos Silva, and Randy Wells likely to hold spots. Also in competition for a rotation spot for the Cubs are Andrew Cashner, Tom Gorzelanny, and possibly Sean Marshall. Continue reading

Trade Review – Zack Greinke to the Brewers


After all of the posturing that was coming out about what the Royals were looking for in return for 2009 Cy Young winner Zack Greinke, it appears that a trade came together pretty quickly. Jim Breen over at Bernie’s Crew broke the story last evening, and the trade that appears to have been finalized was Greinke, Yuniesky Betancourt, and $2 M going to the Brewers in exchange for SS Alcides Escobar, OF Lorenzo Cain, SP Jake Odorizzi, and SP Jeremy Jeffress.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers have really improved their starting pitching with both the acquisition of Shaun Marcum and now Zack Greinke. Their rotation now consists of Greinke, Yovani Gallardo, Marcum, Randy Wolf, and Chris Narveson most likely, which could well be the top starting rotation in the NL Central, and probably 3rd in the NL behind the Phillies and the Giants.

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Trade Review: Shaun Marcum to the Brewers


The Winter Meetings hadn’t even officially kicked off and there had already been two trades, one gigantic one, and another which is a pretty decent sized one as well. I already wrote up the Adrian Gonzalez trade, but another one that came together pretty quickly on Sunday evening was the Brewers’ acquisition of Blue Jays’ starting pitcher Shaun Marcum in exchange for 2B prospect Brett Lawrie.

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Trade Review: Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox


You know, I keep planning on writing about the Hall of Fame case of Kevin Brown, and major stories in the game seem to keep coming up. When I went to bed last night, it appeared that the trade talks surrounding Adrian Gonzalez had been heating up, and that teams besides just the Red Sox were involved. When I woke up this morning, it appears that the other teams have fallen by the wayside, and that the Red Sox are very close to acquiring Gonzalez from the Padres.

According to MLBTR, the players involved have been confirmed, but the things holding up the trade remain a physical for Gonzalez and the contract extension discussions as well. The package of players seems to have reached a general consensus, if not complete confirmation for the public. Let’s take a look at how this trade looks:

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Trade Review – Dan Uggla to the Braves


Today the Braves acquired 2B Dan Uggla from the Marlins in exchange for IF Omar Infante and P Mike Dunn.

The Braves

The Braves get a player who at worst is a 1 year rental, as Uggla will enter arbitration for the last time this season. But he provides a much needed middle-of-the-order bat to the team, and will allow the Braves to slot another power hitter into their lineup between catcher Brian McCann, outfielder Jason Heyward, and third baseman Chipper Jones when he recovers from his injuries.

To me, it seems like Uggla could be a candidate for an extension, but the Braves have very few players locked up to long-term contracts after the 2011 season (Just McCann, Derek Lowe, Jones, Tim Hudson, and David Ross according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts. This is at worst a win-now move for the Braves, but I don’t think that they really gave up anything that will particularly hurt them in the short-term or long-term.

The Marlins

The Marlins gain some more flexibility with Omar Infante, as he can play 2B, 3B, SS, or the OF. This move seems like it would be likely to allow Chris Coghlan to move to his natural position of 2B instead of the previously announced move to 3B. There is obviously some salary savings as well, as Uggla was expected to get a raise from his 2010 salary of $7.8 M, while Infante is set to earn $2.5 M in 2011.

The Marlins have been adding bullpen arms all over the place in the past few weeks, and Mike Dunn appears to be at least a reasonable arm for their pen.

My Thoughts

Honestly, I’m wondering if this was a complete overreaction to the breakdown in contract negotiations between the Marlins and Uggla. It seems to me that there were a lot of rumors out there about what the Marlins might get in return for Uggla, and nearly all of the other rumors seemed like they were a better return.

I am wondering also if this will bring about another investigation from the commissioner’s office for the Marlins unwillingness to spend money on payroll. The Marlins already have $19.75 M guaranteed in contracts for 2011, and while it will clearly go up with more salaries being included (currently only 3 players are in that $19.75), I don’t imagine it’s going to get to even the 2010 level of $47 M.

Grades

Braves: A

Marlins: C-

Trade Deadline Review


Well, we are now officially one day past the non-waiver trade deadline, and there have been quite a few different trades made. It was definitely one of the more active periods in a lot of years. I wrote up the major trades as they happened, and you can read my thoughts with the links below.

Major Trades

Texas Rangers acquire SP Cliff Lee and P Mark Lowe from the Seattle Mariners for 1B Justin Smoak and 3 minor leaguers
Los Angeles Angels acquire SP Dan Haren from the Arizona Diamondbacks for SP Joe Saunders and 3 minor leaguers
Philadelphia Phillies acquire SP
Roy Oswalt from the Houston Astros for SP J.A. Happ and 2 minor leaguers

Semi-Major Deals

1. New York Yankees acquire RP Kerry Wood from the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later or cash
2. New York Yankees acquire 1B Lance Berkman from the Houston Astros for P Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes
3. Los Angeles Dodgers acquire SP Ted Lilly and IF Ryan Theriot from the Chicago Cubs for IF Blake DeWitt, minor league P Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit
4. St. Louis Cardinals acquire SP Jake Westbrook from the Cleveland Indians and minor leaguer Nick Greenwood from the San Diego Padres, San Diego Padres acquire OF Ryan Ludwick from the St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians acquire minor leaguer Corey Kluber from the San Diego Padres
5. Pittsburgh Pirates acquire C Chris Snyder and OF Pedro Ciriaco from the Arizona Diamondbacks for P D.J. Carrasco, IF Bobby Crosby, and OF Ryan Church
6. Chicago White Sox acquire SP Edwin Jackson from the Arizona Diamondbacks for SP Daniel Hudson and P David Holmberg
7. Minnesota Twins acquire RP Matt Capps from the Washington Nationals for C Wilson Ramos and minor league P Joe Testa
8. Texas Rangers acquire IF Jorge Cantu from the Florida Marlins for minor leaguer pitchers Evan Reed and Omar Poveda
9. Los Angeles Dodgers acquire OF Scott Podsednik from the Kansas City Royals for minor leaguers C Lucas May and P Elisaul Pimentel
10. Los Angeles Angels acquire 3B Alberto Callaspo from the Kansas City Royals for P Sean O’Sullivan and P Will Smith
11. Toronto Blue Jays acquire SS Yunel Escobar and P Jo-Jo Reyes from the Atlanta Braves for SS Alex Gonzalez and minor leaguers Tyler Pastornicky and Tim Collins
12. Los Angeles Dodgers acquire RP Octavio Dotel from the Pittsburgh Pirates for OF Andrew Lambo and P James McDonald

Minor Moves

1. Texas Rangers acquire IF Cristian Guzman from the Washington Nationals for minor leaguers Ryan Tatsuko and Tanner Roark
2. Texas Rangers acquire C Bengie Molina from the San Francisco Giants for P Chris Ray
3. Toronto Blue Jays acquire 1B Mike Jacobs from the New York Mets for a player to be named later
4. San Diego Padres acquire IF Miguel Tejada from the Baltimore Orioles for minor league P Wynn Pelzer
5. Tampa Bay Rays acquire RP Chad Qualls from the Arizona Diamondbacks for a player to be named later
6. New York Yankees acquire OF Austin Kearns from the Cleveland Indians for ?
7. Detroit Tigers acquire IF Jhonny Peralta from the Cleveland Indians for minor league P Giovanny Soto
8. San Francisco Giants acquire P Javier Lopez from the Pittsburgh Pirates for P Joe Martinez and OF John Bowker
9. Atlanta Braves acquire IF Wilkin Ramirez from the Detroit Tigers for cash or a player to be named later
10. Florida Marlins acquire RP Will Ohman from the Baltimore Orioles for P Rick VandenHurk
11. San Francisco Giants acquire RP Ramon Ramirez from the Boston Red Sox for P Daniel Turpen
12. Atlanta Braves acquire OF Rick Ankiel and RP Kyle Farnsworth from the Kansas City Royals for P Jesse Chavez, OF Gregor Blanco, and minor league P Tim Collins
13. Boston Red Sox acquire C Jarrod Saltalamacchia from the Texas Rangers for 1B Chris McGuiness, P Ramon Mendez and a player to be named later or cash

Wow. There’s still stuff coming in as I write this, and in the last hour there have been a lot of these to get done. So who did well here and who didn’t?

Winners

The Yankees – Let’s see if we have this right. The Yankees picked up Lance Berkman to be their designated hitter. They added Kerry Wood to help solidify the back end of the bullpen behind Mariano Rivera. And they got both of them for a pair of players that are of no use to the Yankees, and even got some money in the deals? Really? They already have the best record in the Majors, and have decidedly improved their team with both acquisitions. Oh, and they added to their bench depth with Austin Kearns as well.

The Rangers – With a decent lead in the AL West, the Rangers went out and got themselves an ace starter (Lee), a solid catcher who can help them play defense at the position (Molina), a run producing right handed bat who can play two positions (Cantu), a backup infielder who will be able to spell their third baseman and shortstop, and fill in while their second baseman is on the disabled list (Guzman),  and moved a player that they had soured on for some prospects. They are the prohibitive favorite in the AL West at this point, now being 8 games ahead of the 2nd place Angels and 8.5 of the 3rd place Athletics. They plugged nearly every gap they had in their team, and will go into the pennant chase with a very good chance of being in the World Series at the end of it.

The Angels – Even though the moves may end up being more for next season, acquiring Dan Haren to give them a very good 1-2 punch in their rotation for “some magic beans” as Matthew Berry put it on the Fantasy Focus podcast was a stroke of genius. Callaspo also gives them a solid hitter to play at 3B which they had sorely been missing. While it may not be enough to catch the Rangers, they gave up very little of value to do both trades.

The Pirates – They took D.J. Carrasco, Bobby Crosby, Javier Lopez, Octavio Dotel, and Ryan Church and turned them into a major league backstop (Snyder), two solid potential major leaguers (Bowker and Martinez), and 2 higher end, albeit risky prospects (Lambo, McDonald). Someone must have put something in Neal Huntington’s coffee that helped out a lot. They did extremely well to turn a lot of random pieces that aren’t really that helpful into all that.

The Royals – Pieces that aren’t for the future: Podsednik, Ankiel, Farnsworth, Callaspo. All moved for players with varying levels of upside who can help with the rebuilding process: Lucas May, Tim Collins, Jesse Chavez, Gregor Blanco, Sean O’Sullivan, Will Smith. Not the most amazing group of players, and definitely no high-end prospects here. But the Royals have a lot of high-end prospects already, and need others to help give them some balance as well with regard to position scarcity and depth overall. Very well done today.

The Padres – They gave up a pair of pitching prospects to acquire a much needed outfield bat, and a utility player who should provide some value over the remainder of the season. Nothing too major here, and definitely nothing that mortgages the future. I like the Ludwick acquisition, as he could see an improvement with a change of scenery. I’m not 100% sold on the Tejada acquisition, but they didn’t really give up that much to get him in my opinion.

Losers

The Nationals – The trade of Matt Capps was nice, netting them a very good catching prospect in Wilson Ramos. But the way that they handled Adam Dunn leading up to the trade deadline was inexcusable. They clearly had not made up their mind as to what they wanted to do with him, and in the end they simply ran out of time. They clearly could have gotten more for him had they moved him instead of waiting for his free agency to play out, and the only reason to do that would have been to get him signed to an extension (which they didn’t do either). Not sure what happened here, but we’ll see if this was a really bad plan from the start.

The Dodgers – In a division where they are 7.5 games back of the leader and 5 games back of the wild card leader, the Dodgers decided to go for it, sending prospects Brett Wallach, Kyle Smit, Lucas May, Elisaul PimentelAndrew Lambo, and James McDonald (along with Blake DeWitt) to other teams to acquire: the remainder of this season from Octavio Dotel, Ted Lilly and Scott Podsednik, and also Ryan Theriot. I’m pretty sure that if they had offered those players to the Diamondbacks they would have been able to get Dan Haren, Kelly Johnson, and a bullpen arm. I’m also pretty convinced that they could have offered that group to the Mariners and gotten Cliff Lee, Jose Lopez and possibly David Aardsma. I’m not at all impressed with what they did here, and are only one bad week from being completely out of the race.

The Orioles – It’s a tough beat, but they were only able to move Will Ohman and Miguel Tejada, and would have been served by moving Ty Wigginton and Kevin Millwood, among others. Unfortunately, neither player has been playing well of late, and had essentially managed to knock their own values down to next to nothing.

The Twins – They needed some help in the bullpen, and really could have used another starting pitcher behind Francisco Liriano and Carl Pavano. Unfortunately, they only filled one of those gaps, and at a cost that seems high even considering that the prospect that they gave up had no place to play in the Twins’ future.

Mixed Bag

The Astros – They were able to get out from under a lot of the big dollar contracts owed to Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, and got back at least a reasonable return. Brett Wallace will slot in at 1B to replace Berkman, and J.A. Happ will fill Oswalt’s slot in the rotation. But time will tell if they get anything other than salary relief for Berkman, and Happ and Wallace will have to be very good to replace the value of Oswalt in my opinion.

The Phillies – They gave up a lot more to get Oswalt than they got back in return for Cliff Lee, who would have played a similar role for the Phillies this season had he not been traded. Oswalt will need to be the piece that moves them over the top for this one to really be a winner for them.

The Diamondbacks – They acquired a pretty good young pitcher in return for Edwin Jackson (Hudson). But they practically gave away Dan Haren, a better pitcher who was not that much more expensive than Jackson. They got back a bunch of garbage essentially for their second catcher Snyder. Crosby is a free agent after the season, and Church and Carrasco are both likely candidates for a non-tender after the season. They also did not move Kelly Johnson and Adam LaRoche, both of whom had a lot of value built up despite poor performance of late. Some of the players they acquired could turn out to be good, but it remains to be seen.

The White Sox – They really could have used a bat, and it sounds like they were trying to get one by acquiring Edwin Jackson. I honestly can’t remember the last time I heard about a player being acquired with the hope of moving him to another team, only to have that other team tell them it wasn’t enough. Jackson is a nice pitcher, but is not that much better than Hudson should be.

Overall, a very exciting trade deadline, and there is still the possibility that we will see a lot more trades before the waiver deadline of August 31st.

Trade Review – Roy Oswalt to the Phillies


The saga has finally wound itself up, with SP Roy Oswalt accepting a trade on Thursday afternoon and waiving his no-trade clause. I am including the trade made between the Astros and Blue Jays in this writeup because I think it speaks to the true value of the trade.

Philadelphia Phillies acquired SP Roy Oswalt (and $11 M cash)
Houston Astros acquired SP J.A. Happ and minor leaguers OF Anthony Gose and SS Jonathan Villar

Houston Astros acquired 1B Brett Wallace
Toronto Blue Jays acquired OF Anthony Gose

The Phillies

Clearly, the Phillies get another ace to put up at the top half of their rotation, and with Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt making up their top 3 starters, they look very strong if they make it into the playoffs. This wasn’t exactly what everyone had imagined as the pair of aces if the Phillies were to acquire Halladay last offseason, but it is still very formidable. By getting the $11 M, they have essentially been paid the cost of Oswalt for 2011 (he is owed $23 M through next season), and make the idea of giving up good players a lot more bearable. For them, Happ, Gose and Villar are the price it takes to make another run at a World Championship. The Phillies also did very well here in my opinion in that they were able to hold onto some of their higher end prospects like Jarred Cosart, Trevor May, and Jonathan Singleton.

The Astros

The Astros had pretty much been put in no-man’s land, and did surprisingly well here considering that fact. Happ is going to be at worst a #3 starter in the Majors in my opinion, and has shown some success previously. Minor leaguer Jonathan Villar is a very raw shortstop prospect, who looks like a speed guy to this point. He has 38 steals so far this year in 100 games in Single-A. The plate discipline concerns me quite a bit: 26 walks to 103 strikeouts in those same 100 games, but he’s still a very young prospect (only 19 at the time of the trade), and there’s a lot of upside there.

By acquiring Brett Wallace from the Blue Jays, they got a player who is a lot more major league ready than Gose, and can slot in as the replacement for Lance Berkman following the season. Berkman is on a team option for 2011, which will almost certainly be bought out instead of exercised ($2 M buyout versus $15 M salary). I find it extremely telling that the kid has now been traded 3 times in the past calendar year, as he was a part of the Matt Holliday trade and also the Roy Halladay trade group as well. Wallace has hit very well in the PCL this season, posting a .301/.359/.509 line with 18 HR and 61 runs batted in.

The Blue Jays

Anthony Gose, just 19 years old, trends to be a definite speedster out there as well. He stole 76 bases last season in a full season and has 36 so far this season as well. Another player who could struggle with poor plate discipline (32 walks vs. 103 strikeouts), but still has hit .263/.325/.385 at High-A Clearwater. I like this move for the Blue Jays, as it appears that they will be unable to move free agent to be Lyle Overbay, and were able to make a move of Wallace to get a player who has a high ceiling but who is also unlikely to arrive for another couple of seasons.

Overall, this trade was made with the hope that another pennant will be had by the Phillies, and I was actually surprised at how close the Phillies have gotten to the Braves in the last week. The Astros, considering all the limitations and cash issues that were surrounding moving Oswalt, did pretty well to get the players that they did. The one thing that really does concern me quite a bit about the Phillies is that they have already committed $143 million to a total of 17 players who are under contract for 2011. It seems to me like they could either end up spending similar amounts to the Yankees or have to find some serious bargains to help fill the roster. The biggest bonus for the Astros appears to be only having to pay the $11 million of the $23 million owed to Oswalt.

WINNER: Phillies

Trade Review – Dan Haren to the Angels


We got a bit of a surprise on Sunday afternoon when the Diamondbacks moved SP Dan Haren, but not to one of the previously mentioned suitors. Not to the Cardinals, or the Yankees, but the Angels.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim acquire SP Dan Haren
Arizona Diamondbacks acquire SP Joe Saunders, minor leaguers Patrick Corbin, Rafael Rodriguez, and a player to be named later (reported to be Tyler Skaggs)

The Angels

The Angels were really in need of another stabilizing force in their starting rotation to slot in behind Jered Weaver. Ervin Santana has been solid this season, but Joe Saunders has been hit or miss, and Scott Kazmir has been a complete mess out there. If the Angels were to have any hope of competing this season, they needed another arm to help them out.

This trade was made really though with next season in mind as well, as Haren is under contract for each of the next 2 seasons along with an option for a 3rd. Haren can really help to give the Angels a very potent 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation.

In terms of an impact on his performance, we could see improvement from him with returning to the AL West and the weak teams at the bottom of the division and also with being a lot more comfortable as he is now with the team closest to where he grew up. In addition, he has already shown that he can pitch very effectively in the AL West, having done so with the Athletics prior to being with the Diamondbacks.

The Diamondbacks

The only major league ready piece that the Diamondbacks received was starting pitcher Joe Saunders. Saunders is currently 6-10 with a 4.62 ERA and 64 strikeouts to 45 walks in 120 2/3 innings pitched. He has been an All-Star previously, but overall I’m not that impressed with what Saunders has done in the Majors. He doesn’t really strikeout a lot of hitters (5.1 per 9 innings for his career), and while he should see a slight bump from going to the National League and seeing the pitcher 3 times a game, it’s probably not going to be all that substantial. Saunders is going to provide the Diamondbacks with an innings eater, and not a lot else in my opinion.

Looking at the minor leaguers:

Patrick Corbin is currently sporting a 13-3 record this season, as he has split time between Low A and High A. He has posted a solid 106 strikeout/28 walks rate in 118 2/3 innings pitched over the season, and looks like a reasonable prospect. Still just 20 years old, I want to see him continue his performance at High A for the remainder of the season. He was not in Baseball America’s Top 10 Prospects at the start of the season, but I could conceivably break into that for the Diamondbacks.

Rafael Rodriguez has made 1 appearance this season at the Major League level for the Angels, but has been used primarily as a late inning reliever at AAA for the Angels this season. He has appeared in 37 games, finishing 27 and recording 10 saves. The part that really, really concerns me about his ability to get hitters out at the major league level is the lack of strikeouts. In 50 1/3 innings this season at AAA, he has only 30 strikeouts, and also 15 walks. This season is also his 3rd one with AAA Salt Lake City. All in all, a very underwhelming player.

The player to be named later appears to be one of last year’s top draft picks, Tyler Skaggs. Skaggs was ranked 8th in the Angels’ system by Baseball America coming into 2010, and has pitched reasonably well in the Midwest League despite being only 18 when the season started. To date, he has an 8-4 record with a 3.61 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 82 innings. Skaggs seems to be the only player going to the Diamondbacks that any of the experts seem to think will do anything at the Major League level.

Overall, this trade looks like it was made way too quickly by the Diamondbacks. There were clearly some concerns with the performance of Dan Haren this season, to go along with the large contract that the previous GM had given the pitcher, but this return isn’t nearly enough for what Dan Haren can be in these next 3 seasons. Think about what the Diamondbacks gave up to get Haren (along with Connor Robertson) from the Athletics 3 years ago: Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, Dana Eveland, Greg Smith, Chris Carter and Aaron Cunningham. Granted that Haren was on a much more team friendly contract then, but even still this trade seems like a near waste for the Diamondbacks.

Even with the potential injury that Haren may have suffered last night off the bat of Kevin Youkilis, Haren is still likely to provide way more value to the Angels than the other 4 players ever will to the Diamondbacks.

WINNER: Angels

Trade Review: Cliff Lee to the Rangers


Well, it looks like the conversations about him being traded are finally over, as Cliff Lee was finally traded today. With the Twins, Reds, and half a dozen other teams in the conversation yesterday, and the Yankees looking like they were nearly a done deal this morning, it was a bit of a surprise to have this turn out the be the trade:

Texas Rangers acquires SP Cliff Lee,  SP Mark Lowe and $2.5 M
Seattle Mariners acquire 1B Justin Smoak, P Blake Beavan, P Josh Lueke, and 2B Matthew Lawson.

The Rangers

Clearly, the Rangers get the ace that their pitching staff needs. By slotting Lee into the top of the rotation, it can really help them push everyone else back a step to a better fit. Their rotation, with Lee, Colby Lewis, C.J. Wilson, Scott Feldman, and potentially Rich Harden later on, seems to me like a real strength now. The team was already well ahead of the pack in the AL West, and I think that with Lee they now are in that group with the Yankees, Rays, and Red Sox. The playoffs in the American League are going to be something else.

In terms of fantasy impact, clearly the Rangers aren’t quite the defensive team that the Mariners are, and the Ballpark in Arlington is much more of an offense driven stadium than Safeco Field was. However, Lee pitched excellently last season in Philadelphia, a similar stadium environment. I have no concerns about Lee for the rest of the season.

I did find it a bit interesting that the Rangers asked for Mark Lowe as well, who is out for the season. There had been some concerns as well that the Rangers were going to need to get the full salary paid by the Mariners as well, since the Rangers are in bankruptcy proceedings at the moment. However, it appears that this will not have any impact on the trade.

At worst, the Rangers will have the next 2+ months of Lee, and will most assuredly offer him arbitration and get two draft picks of compensation for losing him. I wonder if they may even be able to sign him long term potentially, as he is from Arkansas originally, and not terribly far away from home.

The Mariners

Clearly, the top piece they acquired here is Justin Smoak. Smoak will be penciled into the 1B spot for the Mariners, and while I think that he will see a drop in some of his power numbers compared to what he would have done with the Rangers, but he should still be a solid 1B. Long term, I can see him hitting .300+ with about 20 homers for the Mariners in a season. I think that his slugging percentage, while it should be slightly lower, should still be solid with the large alleys in the outfield of Safeco Field.

What about the other prospects that the M’s got back?

Blake Beavan is a 21 year old right hander who had been at AA for the Rangers. He has a 10-5 record with a 2.78 ERA and a very respectable 68/12 strikeout-to-walk rate while there. The numbers appear legitimate, as he has a 3.23 FIP this season, and a 5.1% HR/FB rate for the season. As strange as it sounds, he’s was almost an extra pitcher for the Rangers, as he was not even in their top 10 prospects according to Baseball America before the season. I imagine he’s going to still be in AA for the Mariners, and spend next season at AAA. A career 48% groundball rate leads me to believe he’s going to do well in Seattle once he gets there, even without the dominating strikeouts.

Josh Lueke is a bit of an older prospect, only at AA this season in his age 25 season. A closer, he has recorded 12 saves between High-A and AA this season. The strikeouts are a bit ridiculous though, with 62 so far over 38 1/3 innings pitched between both levels. Even at AA he has managed to maintain an excellent rate, striking out 12.5 per 9 innings. I would guess that his ETA is probably next season sometime, as he could be fast tracked up to AAA by the Mariners potentially before the end of the season.

Matthew Lawson seems like a bit of a throw in, as he looks like a solid prospect but nothing amazing. A 14th round pick originally, he looks like he might fit the mold of a good fielding, reasonable hitting 2B. At AA, he has hit .277/.371/.438 this season with 7 homeruns and 3 stolen bases. To me, he’s a bit of a project, as he’s not dominating in the way you would hope he would to be a top prospect, but he is only 24 still and this is his first go around in AA. I think he does have a reasonable chance to be useful at the Majors, potentially as a utility type player.

Overall, I think this looks like a trade that both teams can win over time. The Rangers get the big arm that they need to help propel them through the playoffs, and the Mariners got not only an elite prospect in Smoak, but also top tier talents in Beavan, Lueke and Lawson. Amazingly, the Rangers didn’t really empty the system particularly either, and will still receive 2 draft picks if they can’t resign him after the season. Job well done from both general managers.

WINNER: BOTH