Okay, so it looks like Cliff Lee won't be a Texas Ranger. It had become really nice to daydream about his dominance on this roster Of him going out and not walking a soul on his way to giving the Rangers an awesome chance to win every five days in the second half. And then going out there in game one of the playoffs and setting the tone for the series in dominant fashion.
But, really, it's not that big of a deal. It absolutely would have been nice and it would have been fun in an unquantifiable way to see a Cy Young pitcher go out and do his work for the Texas Rangers in a pennant race. But the fact is, the Rangers are extremely likely to make the playoffs this year regardless. And while Cliff Lee would have been a big help in the post season, he's not a guaranteed pass to the next round our anything. And what's great is that he's not going to the Angels, and Texas gets to keep their awesome farm intact. Sure, this makes the Yankees a bit harder to beat in the post-season, but that's a long way off and not worth panicking about (yet). And just like he'd be no guarantee for the Rangers, he's no guaranteed win for the Yankees (and Texas has certainly beaten Cliff Lee before).
No, the worst part of this is Jesus Montero going to the Mariners.
Lost in the shuffle of #6org hash tags and 2010 failures (many of which were unpredictable), the Mariners are still a strong front office, and the high-risk roster they put together this year didn't set back their future much, if at all. The Rangers awesome young talent is all about competing in the future, and that's easier to do if smart teams (with more money to spend) in the division don't get incredible talent.
Montero is an incredible talent. Just today Baseball America updated their top 25 prospects list, and you'll find Montero's beastly bat at fifth. And that's assuming he won't stick at catcher; as Rangers fans, let's hope he doesn't turn a corner on defense. That also gives the Mariners three of the top 11, along with No. 7 Dustin Ackley and No. 11 Michael Pineda.
Montero is a career .309/.368/.486 slash hitter in the minors. He put up wOBAs of .393, .402 and .435 in A, A+ and AA, respectively, as a teenager. Offensively Montero's "struggled" this year, but he's 20 years old in AAA. And his line drive, ground ball and fly ball rates are pretty much exactly as they've always been. On top of that, he's actually risen his walk rate, while keeping his called strikeout rate the same. His swinging strikeout rate has gone from 8.3% in AA to 13.5%, but, again, he's 20 and facing the best pitchers he has in his life.
There is no doom or gloom to be had from this, only small bits of frustration. The Rangers woke up this morning with a great chance of seeing the post season and a solid chance of advancing without Cliff Lee. The former does not change at all, now, and the latter only changes a bit. And, on the plus side, that awesome farm system they woke up with is still just as awesome. Unfortunately, one more team in the division has made it a bit more likely the Rangers will have to deal with them in future pennant runs.
And that's the worst part.