Here is the Mariners’ release on today’s six-player trade with the Rangers:
SEATTLE, Wash. — Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik announced today the club has acquired first baseman Justin Smoak, right-handed pitcher Blake Beavan, infielder Matt Lawson and right-handed pitcher Josh Lueke from the Texas Rangers in exchange for left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee, right-handed pitcher Mark Lowe and cash considerations. Beavan, Lawson and Lueke were at the Rangers AA Frisco affiliate in the Texas League.
“This is a bittersweet day for us. While we are excited about the group of young players we have acquired from the Rangers, it’s never easy to trade a player like Cliff Lee, who has been outstanding here. We decided that if we were able to acquire the amount of talent we wanted, we would make a deal for Cliff. We concluded that these four players fit very well into our long-term plans, and at the same time we obtained some immediate help for our offense. Justin Smoak has a chance to be a special player, and we regard Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Matt Lawson highly as well,” said Zduriencik.
“The process of building a World Championship team, which is what we’re doing here, is based on continually acquiring more top talent for the organization. We were able to accomplish that in this deal with the Rangers. And we believe we have taken another step closer to winning a championship in the future with this trade,” he added.
Smoak, 23, is scheduled to join the Mariners big league club on Saturday, July 10. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound, switch-hitting first baseman is second among Major League rookies with 8 home runs. He has 10 doubles, 8 homers and 34 RBI in 70 games with the Rangers this season. Smoak hit .266 (25-for-94) in 27 games in June with 6 doubles, 4 home runs and 22 RBI to go with 17 walks and 16 runs scored.
Smoak is in just his second full season of professional baseball. He was the Rangers first round pick (11th overall) in the 2008 June Draft, and appeared in 14 games with Clinton (A) that season. He split most of the 2009 season between AA Frisco and AAA Oklahoma City. He left Oklahoma City prior to the end of the 2009 season to play with Team USA in the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) 2009 World Cup where he was voted tournament MVP and named all tournament for the Gold Medal winning Team USA. He set a World Cup record with 9 home runs, while also collecting 22 RBI and scoring 16 runs in 14 games. Later named IBAF Senior Athlete of the Year (an award which covers all countries playing baseball over a two-year – 2008, 2009 – period) and was named the Richard W. “Dick” Case Award winner as the USA Baseball Athlete of the Year.
Smoak entered the 2010 season ranked as the Rangers second-best prospect, the top position player, by Baseball America. Baseball America ranked him as the top Rangers prospect in Hitting for Average, Hitting for Power and Strike-Zone Discipline.
Beavan, 21, was 10-5 with a 2.78 ERA (34 ER, 110.0 IP) in 17 starts for Frisco. In 11 combined starts in May and June, Beavan was 8-2 with a 2.16 ERA (18 ER, 75.0 IP) with 49 strikeouts and just 7 walks. He has twice been named the Texas League Pitcher of the Week this season.
Beaven ranks 1st in the Texas League in wins (10), innings (110.0), WHIP (1.02), 5th in ERA (2.78) and 9th in strikeouts (68). Prior to the 2010 season, Baseball America rated Beavan as having the best control in the Rangers organization.
The 6-foot-7, 250-pound right-hander was the 17th overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of Irving High School in Irving, Texas after being named Baseball America’s 2006 Youth Player of the Year.
Lawson, 24, was batting .277 (81×292) with 48 runs, 16 doubles, 5 triples, 7 home runs, 34 RBI with a .371 on-base percentage in 76 games for Frisco. He was the starting second baseman for the 2010 Texas League South All-Stars. He was also a California League Mid-Season All-Star in 2009. Lawson was the Rangers 14th round selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri.
Lueke, 26, was 3-2 with 12 saves and a 2.11 ERA (9 ER, 38.1 IP) in 32 relief appearances combined between Hickory (A) and Frisco this season. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder has limited opponents to a .209 (30×1143) average, while walking 10 and striking out 62 in 38.1 innings. Lueke began the season with Hickory, allowing only one earned run in 19.2 innings before being promoted to Frisco on May 21. In four minor league seasons, Lueke is 6-13 with 22 saves and a 3.47 ERA. He was originally drafted by the Rangers in the 16th round of the 2007 June draft out of Northern Kentucky University.
Lee, 31, was 8-3, 2.34 in 13 starts with the Mariners this season. He missed the first month of the season on the disabled list after being acquired via trade from the Philadelphia Phillies on Dec. 16, 2009.
Lowe, 27, was 1-3 with a 3.48 ERA (4 ER, 10.1 IP) in 11 relief appearances this season. His last appearance was May 2 against Texas. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 5 (retro May 3) with lower back disc inflammation. Lowe had microdiscectomy surgery on June 15.
With this trade, the Mariners 40-man roster currently stands at 37 players.