The Legacy Of Cliff Lee In SeattleAugust 9th, 2012 by terrybenish
Let’s look at the fact picture and see what we got.
Baseball-Reference tells us the following about the cost of Seattle acquiring Cliff Lee:
December 16, 2009: Traded by the Philadelphia Phillies to the Seattle Mariners for J.C. Ramirez (minors), Phillippe Aumont (minors) and Tyson Gillies (minors)
So going into his free agency year the Phillies traded him to Seattle for three guys. In other words the Phillies did not want to re-sign him as they thought he would command too high of a price.
So what did the Mariners pay for that year of rent-a-player, or partial year as it turned out:
J.C. Ramirez: He is a right handed pitcher, 6’4 250″ that is currently at AAA for Lehigh Valley still in Phillies organization. He is a setup guy, actually a failed starter that was stuck at AA. Still only 23 years old, signed out of Venezuela. Playing professional baseball since he was 16.
Phillipe Aumont: Phillipe is 6’7″ 255 right handed closer who was a first round pick by the Mariners under Bill Bavasi in 2007 pick from somewhere in Canada, I want it to be Moosejaw, but it is a French speaking area, Gatineau, Quebec (gat e no, gabeck). Like J.C. he is a big hard throwing relief pitcher that has 53 ks in 39.67 innings this year in AAA along with his 32 walks and 13 saves so far. This would be the time to talk about the Mariners using their first pick to draft relievers in Bavasi’s last two years as the zenith of incompetence, but maybe not. I think he might make it to the show, but he’s got to fix the walks.
Tyson Gillies: Tyson is a 23 year old outfielder drafted in 2006 in 25th round. He is from British Columbia. He is stuck after six years in baseball at A ball. He is a centerfielder with some power that the Phillies don’t play much. He is pretty close to done.
The other two guys might make it to the show but both have struggled to reduce walks, Gillies no. Ramirez and Aumont are in the wrong organization if they don’t make adjustments.
The Mariners traded three players for Cliff Lee for a year, the cost was two guys that are marginal prospects and a third who is not. Every organization has guys like this and the relative cost or marginal cost is as close to zero as possible.
So the Phillies gave Lee to Seattle. No cost. He made thirteen starts for Seattle and pitched magnificently. I can make a case that were he to have signed a deal with Seattle that he and Felix would have won Cy Young Awards in alternative years since his advent here.
The reality is that Cliff Lee would not sign a deal with Seattle, not then, not now and not tomorrow, nor any tomorrows. Why not, you ask? Well he wants to win, burns to win and the Mariners, well the ownership of the Mariners are not committed to that and it was obvious to him.
The Mariners faced with that traded him for the haul below as listed by Baseball-Reference:
July 9, 2010: Traded by the Seattle Mariners with Mark Lowe and cash to the Texas Rangers for Matthew Lawson (minors), Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Justin Smoak.
Lawson was almost immediately traded to Cleveland for Aaron Laffey, who they subsequently waived. He started for Toronto last week against the Ms. So that thread is extinguished. Lawson, 26 is still with Cleveland at AA and playing well but kind of long in the tooth.
Blake Beavan is in the starting rotation for Ms and pitching well and might be good.
Josh Leuke is a guy whose bad past caught up him in Seattle and the local reporters feasted on the past to the dismay of Armstrong and Lincoln. The bad PR almost cost Zduriencik his job and soured the relationship between the two. Leuke was traded to Tampa Bay for John Jaso who is evolving into a cult hero as a catcher that is a fearless hitter and a less than perfect receiver that nonetheless is a good number two receiver.
Then there is Smoak that Zduriencik loved and had followed since his pre-draft baseball and he has not panned out and it is doubtful that he will.
I’m not going to summarize by rewriting the past seven hundred (700) words, but the net of the whole deal is that two productive guys are on the roster and it cost the Mariners nothing at all. Zero, zip, nada, bupkus.
What does that mean? Well the next time one of the Seattle Times guys calls out the failure of the Cliff Lee deal due to Justin Smoak’s failure, realize that is nothing more than a bunch of horse-hash, or words to that effect.
In that vein this morning Chuck Armstrong, oops, Larry Stone was back at it criticizing the team for losing in Baltimore. It just goes to show how important Brendan Ryan is to the team and how terrible that Kawasaki is as a hitter and defender.