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Cliff Lee Traded To Texas, Rangers Become Gambling Favorites

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The Texas Rangers have already been playing pretty good baseball this season heading into the All Star break. On Friday, the betting odds of Texas reaching the World Series increased when they traded for Cliff Lee.

When Friday began, it was reported by Buster Olney that a Lee trade to the New York Yankees was just about a done deal. That trade, however, fell apart in the afternoon, and the Rangers have swooped in to steal Lee. One of the best pitchers in the league did not come cheap.

Texas, which is financially strapped because owner Tom Hicks has the team in bankruptcy, was not considered a favorite to land any big name pitchers earlier in the year. By giving up prospects, however, Texas has avoided having to pay a large part of Lee's salary.

The biggest name in the deal from the Seattle Mariners point of view is first baseman Justin Smoak. The Rangers first baseman has not hit for average, but has shown an ability to hit for power. Texas plays in a hitter friendly ballpark, but the consensus on Smoak is that he will develop into a star.

Reliever Mark Lowe was another part of the deal for Texas. Seattle received Smoak and minor league players Josh Lueke, Matthew Lawson, and Blake Beavan. Clearly for Seattle the player that made the deal was Smoak.

Earlier in the day it appeared Lee was heading to the Bronx. The Yankees are already favored to win the American League pennant, but Texas' odds have just increased. The Rangers have been known this year as a team with a stacked offensive lineup, but one that has lacked that top of the line starter.

Lee certainly fits that description. The former Cy Young award winner helped Philadelphia reach the World Series last year after being traded during the season from Cleveland.

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