ARLINGTON - Before we begin, the Cliff Lee trade is a success. The end. Even if Justin Smoak becomes a 15-time All-Star and breaks Barry Bonds' HR records sans 'roids, it will forever remain a great deal. Even if Blake Beavan becomes the next Cliff Lee, it will forever remain a great deal.
Even with Lee dealing in Philly, it will forever remain a great deal. There is no ALDS series win without Lee. There is no World Series appearance without Lee.
And there may not be a Mitch Moreland without Lee as well. I consider Moreland a piece of the Lee deal. When the Rangers sent Smoak, Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Matthew Lawson to Seattle for Mark Lowe and Lee they were forced to call up Moreland.
Moreland has more than held up his end, which keeps Chris Davis searching for another team.
This is how the Moreland/Smoak stats compare this season ...
Moreland: 66 gp., 221 ab, .294 avg., 11 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 22 RBI
Smoak: 66 gp., 235 ab, .260 avg., 16 2B, 12 HR, 40 RBI
The numbers are comparable, other than Smoak's sizeable edge in RBI.
"Not really comparison. Me and Justin were really good buddies," Moreland told me today during a Rangers/MLB event at Academy Sports in Arlington. "I check on him. I still text him and call him all the time. We were close, not for that reason, not to compare."
The rest of the players in the deal?
Beavan is in Triple A and is 4-2 with 4.17 ERA in 13 starts.
Lawson has retired from baseball, according to RotoWorld.com
Lueke has appeared in eight games for the Mariners this season with a 17.05 ERA.
Of the Ranger "names" in this lineup the one that is most easily over looked is Moreland. How does he fit in among the names of Cruz, Young, Kinsler, Hamilton and Andrus? He does, but it's easy not to see him.
"Those guys are what leads our team. That's what leads our team. They have been here," Moreland said. "I'm learning from those guys. I feel more comfortable, having last season and the post season and what we went through and the success we had, I do feel more comfortable."
At this point, Moreland figures to stick. There is enough footage of this guy that other teams, other scouts and other pitchers have made their adjustments to attack his "weak" spots. By the looks of his numbers, he has adjusted to their adjustments. That usually is the hardest part of the jump from the minors to the majors, and normally determines if a guy can stick.
"You do have to adjust. You're going to run into a guy that has something that may not be your strong suit but you have to find a way to get it done," Moreland said. "I feel like when you're successful at this game that's because you can adjust quick. Or on the fly. That is part of it. I'm learning how to do it still. I feel like I'm doing it better at times than others, or doing it quicker than others. That's what makes Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Mike Young are so good and so consistent is because they can make those adjustments really quick."
FYI - Moreland said he thinks Young is the best of the Ranger hitters at making adjustments.
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