Giddy Rangers pumped after trade for Lee
Deal for ace left-hander has entire clubhouse excited
ARLINGTON -- When Rangers manager Ron Washington was asked what his club's reaction was to the signing of Cliff Lee, all he gave was a fist pump and a smile."Everybody in here is still kind of reeling a little bit," pitcher C.J. Wilson said. "I started the slow clap when [Washington] was talking, because I was just really excited."
Lee, who was traded to the Rangers from the Mariners in a six-player deal on Friday, is a name that's already excited the Rangers' club."Our manager was all giddy-eyed, like he was the guy in Peter Pan that just found his marbles," pitcher Tommy Hunter said. "That's everybody's feeling. He comes in with a big smile from ear-to-ear and says, 'Guys, we got Cliff Lee.' You see the reactions, it's just smiles. We've got a really, really good team." For veteran third baseman Michael Young, it's another piece that he hopes will help him win his first playoff series since he's been with the Rangers. "I think it's going to do wonders," Young said. "We have a bunch of guys in here who are young, some guys who are new to being a part of a playoff-type rotation. When you've got a guy like Cliff, who has proven what he's capable of doing in a pennant race and in the postseason, it's only going to do wonders." It's a move that's most excited Wilson and Hunter, who will help form a formidable rotation with Lee as the staff's No. 1 starter. "I felt like it was Christmas," Wilson said. "He's an undisputed ace. Every team wants a guy like him. Hopefully, with him around, I can get better and learn from him." Added Hunter: "Wow. That's all I really said. We got him. They got the job done, they got the deal done. I'm ready to go." Wilson hopes Lee has the same effect on the Rangers' pitching staff as designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero had on the hitters when he arrived in the offseason. "The combination of his experience the last couple of years of being in the playoffs and being a Cy Young winner is going to rub off on all the other pitchers the way Vlad has rubbed off on all the hitters," Wilson said. The only negative for Wilson? "I can't think of anything negative about it except I hope he doesn't want to trade numbers," Wilson said with a laugh. "Because I'm really attached to mine." Young believes the Rangers' newly-acquired pitcher will help take the club to places it's never been before. "We know we have a good team, we've shown that this year," Young said. "Someone like me, who has been here 10 years now, it's a great feeling. It makes me want to get out there and play and push even harder." It caught many of the Rangers off guard, as most had Lee pegged to be the newest member of the Yankees with the news Friday morning that a deal was close to being finalized. "It was rad. It's something that's been in the news and everybody has been speculating," Wilson said. "This morning, a lot of us woke up and saw the New York Yankees thing and [thought] he's going to the Yankees. It's like, 'Oh, great. Shocker. The Yankees getting somebody, right?' "Until something actually happens in baseball, you can't allow yourself to get into the momentum of the speculation." Shortstop Elvis Andrus expressed excitement that he wouldn't have to face Lee again as a member of the Mariners. In two starts against the Rangers this season, Lee was 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA and 15 strikeouts. "When you face him, he's going to get you. He's not afraid to throw it. He's a winner," Andrus said. "He's got a lot of confidence in himself. As a hitter, when you see that in a pitcher, that's what makes him really tough. He's a guy that no matter who's out there and no matter who he's facing, he's going to try and get you." Andrus credited the trade that sent him to the Rangers from the Braves as a possible credit for the club's newest acquisition. "We have a really deep Minor League system, and I think it was a huge part of making this trade," Andrus said. "We have a group of young guys in the Minor League system. When Texas made that trade with [Mark] Teixeira a couple years ago, I think that's what's making Seattle make this trade." No matter how the Rangers did or didn't make the trade for Lee, Andrus knows the instant effect it will have on the club. "Everybody in the clubhouse, we're pretty happy for sure," Andrus said. "Now we're going to be a little harder to beat."
Chris Cox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.