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Justin Smoak and Blake Beavan: The Cliff Lee Rangers Ransom

Did Cliff Lee cost the Rangers too much? Are the Angels looking at their three consecutive division titles as a finished run? Did the Mariners install the foundation of dynasty this afternoon? If this was the Premiere League, would the Oakland A's be a Double-A team yet?

Rangers get: Cliff Lee and 27-year old reliever.

Mariners get: Justin Smoak and Blake Beavan, plus 2 other guys that not only did not make John Sickels' Top 20 Rangers Prospects List, neither made his "Grade C Honorable Mentions" list either.

So first, take the two C- Texas prospects and make them an inconsequential trade for Seattle's nothing reliever. Okay, done boring deal. Yawn, whaddevah.

Now look at the trade of 3 months of Cliff Lee for Justin Smoak and Blake Beavan. Only two words can need be uttered by an Angels fan over this: "AH CRUD".

That is "Ah Crud" for this season and "Ah Crud" for 2011.

Blake Beavan's ceiling is a righthanded Joe Saunders with more MPH still finding bats and quick groundball outs to gloves. In Seattle that is a #2 starter this season and solid #3 stuff for the next fives seasons.

Sickles had Beavan as the #16 preseason Rangers prospect. The closes thing to a Beavan we have in Sickels' C+ range is Trevor Bell and Beavan is 2+ years younger.

Justin Smoak... Hmmm... let's see, what did SBN's John Sickels have to say about Smoak before the season began?

2) Justin Smoak, 1B, Grade A-: I'm not too worried about what happened in Triple-A, given everything else he's done. Still expect him to become an All-Star first baseman.

FYI, that #2 is Sickels rating Smoak as the Rangers' #2 prospect. Neftali Feliz was his preseason #1 for Ron Washington's cakewalkers and that has sure been some #1 9th inning frosting for them.

The Rangers get CLIFF LEE. Basically, the best pitcher in baseball at the moment, lotsa groundballs, lotsa strikeouts, no walks to speak of. The Rangers also get the first round pick of the team that signs Lee next season, suppose that will be the Yankees, so for Smoak and Beavan they get Lee and the 30th pick in the Jule '11 draft and a supplemental pick in the late 30s or early 40s.


Lee sucks pitching in Arlington. Might be a small sample size, might be fortuitous for those who do not want to concede him 8 or 9 victories wearing the white stripes of the Cocaine Cowboys.

Smoak has not broken out comparable to Feliz' dominance, and the missed opportunity has occurred in a great hitters park compared to his new home south of Pike Place Market. Beavan is one of a hundred or more C+ prospects.

If anyone says that Toronto got less for Roy Halladay than this understand that Kyle Drabek just pitched a no hitter in AA ball so understand that the jury is still out, these things take time.

This likely delays the Angels pulling the big trigger (the SELL or BUY lever) until July 30-31. If they make up ground, Prince Fielder or Adam Dunn may be the answer. What will that cost in prospects? In the words of John Fante, Ask the Dust. And that should be easy for Angels GM Tony Reagins, as he was left in it this afternoon.