Thursday, October 14, 2010
Cliff Lee: Was he the missing piece?
The Rangers traded away prospects to get Cliff Lee as a rental player for the last few months of the season. Lee is a free agent at the end of the year and will receive a huge contract from one of the teams in New York. He has led the Rangers to their first playoff series win ever. Yes, the Texas Rangers were the only Major League Baseball team to have never won a playoff series. Now they have won and Cliff Lee was a major part of that Division Series win.
For Twins fans the question remains, was Cliff Lee the missing piece for this season? Could Lee have led the Twins past the Yankees?
Cliff Lee has a tremendous postseason resume. For his career he is 6-0 with a 1.44 ERA. The more important thing for Twins fans is two of those wins came in the World Series last year against the Yankees. He has beat the Yankees in a home game. He has gone into Yankee Stadium and beat the Yankees. The Yankees themselves admit that they are scared of Cliff Lee.
The Twins could have used someone to strike a little fear into the Bronx Bombers. The problem was Mariners were asking for too much from the Twins. Bill Smith won't admit what the Mariners were asking for but there are a few names that have been thrown out that the Twins wouldn't part with.
Kyle Gibson and Aaron Hicks were not going to be switching teams at the trade deadline. The Twins pride themselves on keeping young talent and molding it to fit their system. Both of these players are part of the Twins long-term plan and they weren't going to trade them for a player that is a rental.
Wilson Ramos was the one major prospect that the Twins were willing to deal this season. Having signed Joe Mauer to a long-term deal in the off season, the Twins didn't need another catcher. Ramos did the one thing the Twins couldn't have him do this season. He wasn't having that great of a year. His numbers were down a little and he seemed to have a few different injuries. The Twins and their fans had a very high value for Ramos. The problem was the Mariners didn't value him as much as the other deals that were on the table.
The Twins stick to the same philosophy when it come to drafting and developing players. They feel like they do a good job with raising their players so they value their prospects very high. This plan has worked for the Twins over the last decade. Gibson and Hicks will play a major role in the Twins organization for the greater portion of the next decade. Cliff Lee would have played a role in one postseason. The problem is the postseason is what everyone will remember.
Would Cliff Lee have been the kryptonite that the Twins needed to defeat the Superman that is the New York Yankees?
No one will ever know.
But as the ALCS gets played I won't stop thinking of what might have been for the Twins and their could have been ace.