Posted by ltrawick on July 28, 2010 at 7:26 AM
Wow! rhynyc just about covered it. Cliff Lee is maybe 2-3 games difference in regular season and MAYBE STARTS 6 GAMES IN THE POST SEASON??? These are the Rangers you are writing about. I too hate giving up good prospects for rent a players but 6 games is USS Enterprise territory.
The att**ude difference is already amazing except for the offense standing around and watching a maestro perform. And a Ranger pitcher arguing to stay in a game while not a new experience is a faded memory.
Posted by rhmnyc on July 12, 2010 at 9:51 PM
Hate to keep commenting on this trade but as I think more about it, I believe you must consider the following. Pretty much basic stats but important...

First, in the remaining regular season, Lee will probably get 15 starts. Based on his historic record, Rangers probably win 10, lose 5, something like that, for those starts. Sounds good, but then you have to consider, how many wins you would have expected in those games if we had not traded for Cliff Lee -- hard to argue that the Rangers would have done worse than 7-8 or 8-7 anyway. So, for the remainder of this season, if CL is really good, doesn't have a bad stretch, then maybe he's worth an additional 2 or 3 games.. Anybody make a case for more? If Lee is brilliant, pitches as well as he ever has, then maybe the Rangers go 12 -3 in games he starts - maybe a 4 or 5 game differential...

Since we have a 4.5 game lead even after the inexplicable series with the Orioles, it really comes down to the post season. Maybe Lee can get as many as 6 starts if the Rangers go to the World Series. If he pitches as well as last year maybe the Rangers win all those games and that would be huge.

But maybe he only pitches really well, and the Rangers don't provide run support.

Then the trade really looks bad. Giving up Smoak and Bleavan for maybe 2 first rounders and a couple of extra wins in the regular season is not a good trade. If the Rangers make it to the post season and Lee delivers then...maybe the trade is great.

What I'm afraid of is that Ranger's management does not understand the down side risk. The Tex tradde -- very little downside risk because Rangers lose Tex anyway so any team you get to cough up a truck load of prospects, the risk is all on them.

But the CLEE trade, You would never trade Smoak and Bleavans for 1, maybe 2 first round draft choices -- possibly ones that are deep in the first/supplemental first round. To make the trade worthwhile,CLEE has to make a huge difference, not an incremental one, and make it in the short time available. He can't make that big a difference in the regular season. Only if the Rangers make the playoffs and Lee gets a bunch of starts and pitches at the top of his game does this trade make sense. I hope it happens, but I'm not sure Ranger management understands the downside risk.

Look at it this way...Rangers gave up a guy who might never have been an all star (Smoak) but in all likelihood will be a serious major league player for a long time plus a guy who might have been a middle of the rotation player (hard to tell with these guys up or down) for a bet on extraordinary performance over a very short period of time. Lee's record suggests it could go either way, but it is not a done deal that Lee is going 15-0 during the remainder of the regular season and then will throw throw no-hitters in the post season.

Its not about beating the yankees in a trade, although I like that. Its not about having a Cliff Lee who will front your staff for the next 4 or 5 years, because you don't have that and you could have gotten him in free agency at the end of season anyway, either way.

My critique has nothing to do with Cliff Lee. His performance in the playoffs last year was phenomenal. If the Rangers had gotten the rights to Lee through 2012 or so I would have been ecstatic, but thats not what they got. What they got was a small sample of Lees future work and its very difficult to predict how that will turn out. And they paid a high price for it.

Posted by ryanexpress on July 11, 2010 at 9:30 PM
Contenders or Pretenders?

Ugly way to go into the All Star Break, four straight loses to the Orioles begs the question. Who are the real Rangers? The team that went 21-6 in June? or the one that is currently 3-8 in July?

Looking inside the numbers reveals a number of disturbing facts:
-Minus the 11 game winning steak in June, the team is 39-38.
- Rangers have won 12 games against teams that are at .500 or better at the break.
- 4 road wins all year vs. teams at .500 or better at the break...4!

We may get our answer just 11 games into the 2nd half. 4 in Boston, followed by 3 in Detroit and then home for 4 against the Angels. If we go 3-8 and maybe "It's Time" is the right slogan for 2010....It's Time to Panic!"

Here's the key number or numbers for the remainder of the season..40-42. We win 40-42 of our final 75 and we win 90-92 games. Probably gets us the divison, especially if we win most of the remaining games with the Angels.

But the question remains....Jamey, can we go 5 to 9 games over .500 the rest of the way given the schedule that lies ahead (Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Rays..etc??)

Contenders or Pretenders? We may find out soon enough how good this team really is.......Prediction from you Jamey?

Posted by flexaction on July 11, 2010 at 11:5 AM
Really like this trade but also understand some of the concerns about his historical averages especially at The Ballpark. However I believe it definately makes us a better team for the remainder of the year. I do have a couple of questions moving forward as well. First of which is who else would we be able to go get that would allow us an edge over New York, Boston or Tampa Bay in the playoffs? I'm thinking someone like Greinke. JD has already showed a propensity for getting good return on a combination of upper and mid-level prospects so I am curious to know what it would take to wrestle Greinke from the Royals. Keeping in mind of course that once the trade is made your front four would be Greinke, Lee, Lewis and Wilson. I would think the Royals would probably want something along the lines of Holland/Hunter, Salty/Teagarden, and a couple of mid to low level prospects.

So lets say JD dips his big toe in the water and Dayton Moore says he has to have at least Holland and Salty with two double A level prospects I think that would be a trade worthy of serious consideration.

That would leave us with Feldman, Hunter, Harden, McCarthy, Nippert or Beltre as probable fifth starters. If Harden reverts back to his historical averages I think he would be the leading candidate to take the FIFTH spot in the rotation. That would be a remarkable rotation teamed with perhaps the strongest lineup in the majors would make us the team to beat this year. Not to mention that an addition of Greinke would probably force Lee into seriously consider sticking around for a few more years.

You've mentioned several times how this team is at step five of building a championship and I agree so if we are going to make this step lets cover as much distance as possible.
Posted by rhmnyc on July 11, 2010 at 10:9 AM
Just one more comment. Have heard at least one commentator, during last night's game, talk about Lee being a fly ball pitcher and that the ball flies out of Rangers Ballpark. Lee himself also talked about fly balls here that were homers that would have been outs in Seattle.

If in fact Lee tends to induce fly balls, rather than ground balls -- and I don't know that this is true -- but if it is, then you have to ask what were the Rangers thinking? Of course, half the games are on the road, but nevertheless -- the stats of hitters and pitchers are affected to some extent by the park(s) they play in so I hope the Rangers took everything into account.
Posted by rhmnyc on July 11, 2010 at 00:0 AM
Check out Cliff Lees career ERA playing at Texas. Check out the variability in his ERA month to month or year to year.

All players show short term variability in their performance, and the short term maybe a a couple of months. The problem with the Cliff Lee trade is you are betting against the law of small numbers --i.e. that a small sample can and will vary wildly from the mean.

If the Rangers had control of Lee for say 3 years, then the trade would make sense. But, it is quite possible that Lee can revert to his historical ERA mean, or even a standard deviation or so above it, for a period of say, 2 and a half months. Its not really something you can predict. But the Rangers gave up long term assets, some very promising, to make a very short term bet where the outcome is very difficult to predict. Bad business.

It may work out, but it certainly isn't a sure thing and 2 first round draft choices are not necessarily going to replace Smoak and Main,at least anytime soon, particularly if you draft high schoolers.

To quote Larry David, I think everyone should curb their enthusiasm. It is absurd to think though, that you can just plug Cliff Lee in and he's going to pitch like he did last October. Again, check his ERA in detail, see the variability, then look at how he has performed pitching at Texas. Not a huge sample (7) but 5 starts his era was over 4 and the overall ERA looks like (without a precise calc) somewhere over 5.

And of course that didn't count tonight's game. Ooops.

i hope it works out, hope the Rangers finally get theirs, but this has all the elements of a trade that in retrospect may look bad. But whether it does or it doesn't, the Rangers need to study up on statistics and prediction.