This Day in LSB History -- Two Years Ago Today, We Got Cliff Lee

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 18: Cliff Lee #33 of the Texas Rangers throws a pitch against the New York Yankees in Game Three of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 18 2010 in New York New York. The Rangers won 8-0. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Cliff Lee

Two years ago today, the Rangers traded Justin Smoak, Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke, and Matt Lawson to the Seattle Mariners for Cliff Lee, Mark Lowe, and cash.

That was a big day for LSB -- I'm pretty sure that day was a record at the time for the most traffic the site had gotten.

We had several posts about it...first, at 3:23 in the afternoon, a post about T.R. Sullivan saying the Rangers were "working hard" to get Lee, with Martin Perez and Tanner Scheppers untouchable, Derek Holland and Chris Davis touchable, and Justin Smoak in the "don't want to give up but will if we have to" pile.

At 4:00 p.m. that afternoon was a post that the deal was done, and the Rangers had acquired Lee.

At 4:18 p.m. that afternoon was a post to celebrate adding Cliff Lee.

And then, at 4:49 p.m. that afternoon, I offered my thoughts on the deal.

There's a lot of things that strike me in thinking about this. It is amusing in retrospect that the Rangers were willing to give up Holland, but not Scheppers or Perez, and that they really didn't want to part with Smoak. Given how Smoak has flamed out, the angst we all had about having to part with Smoak looks, in retrospect, misguided.

But you know, even if Smoak had turned into Mark Teixeira, or a switch-hitting John Olerud, or even Lyle Overbay, I wouldn't be regretting the trade right now.

The Rangers are one of the premier franchises in baseball right now. They've gone to two straight World Series (Serieses?). They are leading the A.L. West by four games right now, and are among the favorites to win the World Series this season.

And the tipping point, to me -- the point where the Rangers went from being another team having success to one of the Big Swinging Hardens in the league -- was the Cliff Lee trade. The deal where the Rangers went toe to toe with the Yankees, and stole a player they thought for sure they were going to land out from under their noses. That, to me, was when the Rangers officially became one of the big boys in MLB.

I'm still sad that the Rangers didn't re-sign Cliff, even though I know that from a long-term financial health of the organization standpoint, it is probably for the best. But I'm also very happy that I got to watch him pitch for the Rangers, and there's a part of me that still feels like, without him, the Rangers don't go to the 2010 World Series.

So today is a day to celebrate what I feel is one of the best trades in Rangers history.

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