More Reasons To Love Cliff Lee

**Note to Readers:  I’m scheduling this for Saturday morning because I’ll be busy all day golfing, gambling, and having titties rubbed in my face.  A.K.A. just your average, run-of-the-mill Saturday, bitchez.

**Also, Note to Readers:  I went to the Friday Mariners game/Ichiro Hit-Counter Bobblehead Doll Night.  I’ll have a full report for you on Sunday.  And since I’ll be hungover as all Hell, I’m sure it’ll be a Pulitzer Prize worthy screed.

On with the show.

On back-to-back days from the Seattle Times Baseball Duo – Larry Stone & Geoff Baker – we got blog posts talking about where we are with the Cliff Lee Trade today in relation to other teams who traded Cliff Lee.  Apparently, the Mariners are capable of being Number 1 at SOMETHING besides breaking my heart.  We are the best at trading Cliff Lee (which, fun fact, ALSO breaks my heart!).

So, being the Creature of Original Thinking that I am, I thought I’d chime in on the matter (or, you know, gush about my most favorite man-crush of all time).

The Cleveland Indians were the first to trade Cliff Lee, back in July of 2009.  At this point, whoever traded for Mr. Lee would be getting 1 year and 2 months of his services.  Or, to put it another way, they would be getting Mr. Lee for up to 2 full pennant chases.  One might think, considering they’d have over a full year of his services, that this would be the deal with the best batch of prospects.

But Lo! This is the rough and treacherous road of trading sure things for prospects.  According to Stone, Cleveland has thus far received a big bag of crab-apples for their Ace.  They got a back-end starter (who may or may not improve to be a front-end starter), a backup catcher, a AAA third baseman who couldn’t beat out Jack Hannahan of all people, and a reliever still stuck in A-ball.

That’s rough.  But maybe not quite as rough as the next team.

Philly got doubley screwed with their Cliff Lee dealings.  They went to the World Series, but eventually lost.  THEN, they traded him to the Mariners before the 2010 season for a AA starter, a AA reliever, and a AA outfielder with off-field drug and on-field injury issues.  Probably ONE of those guys will pan out, and wouldn’t you know it:  odds are that guy will be the reliever.

In short, the Phillies lost the World Series and traded an Ace starter for a potential Ace reliever (in a few years).  THEN, they failed to make the World Series without Cliff Lee, only to re-sign him in free agency anyway.  Fans over there have to be pulling their hair out on that one.  What’s more important, having a dominant starting rotation in 2010 (and potentially winning it all), or giving away 2010 and getting a relief pitcher in return?

Pretty brutal.  The baseball gods apparently don’t like it when you trade guys like Cliff Lee.  Guys like Cliff Lee should be appreciated!  Treasured!  Not tossed aside for the potential Next Big Thing!

Well, if the gods are planning on smiting the Mariners, it’ll most certainly be the most cruel smiting of the three.

We picked up Mr. Lee with a full-fledged contingency plan in place:  stay in contention and ride the Cliff Lee Train into the playoffs, or fall hopelessly out of contention and trade him away to a team IN contention for a buttload of Major League-ready prospects.  Smart move, especially considering the paltry package we gave up.

Well, we danced with the Yankees, but we went home and fucked the Rangers last July.  And so far … so good.

Justin Smoak is, as I’ve said before, Awesome.  Aaron Laffey (a guy we got from Cleveland for some future has-been named Matt Lawson, who we got from Texas in this Cliff Lee trade), is currently tearing it up in our bullpen as a long-relief lefty.  Josh Lueke started in our bullpen only to have meltdown-after-meltdown (on the plus side, he’s looking like his old self with the Rainiers since he went down, so maybe this was only a temporary blip).  And Blake Beavan is currently starting for Tacoma and could be a future back-end of the rotation starter for the Mariners (or some other team if we decide to flip him).  You can find all their stats in Baker’s post, if you’re feeling frisky.

In short, we win.  And, if Smoak continues to do what he’s doing for the duration of his many years with the Mariners, not only will we have won the Cliff Lee Trade Sweepstakes, but we also won’t have to worry about whatever Jesus Montero does in HIS Major League career (who, I’ll remind you, is the Yankee prospect we turned down in favor of Smoak).

God, isn’t Cliff Lee great, you guys?  Just that many more reasons to love this man!

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