Geoff Baker has a very in-depth and informative story on the latest imbroglio to rock the Mariners' front office, that being new information that directly contradicts the Mariners' claims that they (a) did not know of Josh Lueke's rape and sodomy charge when they acquired him in the Cliff Lee trade, and (b) could not send him back to the Rangers because Jon Daniels refused to take him back:
The Mariners knew all about Josh Lueke's 96-mph fastball when they acquired him from the Texas Rangers in the Cliff Lee deal.
But Mariners executives insisted they knew nothing before the July 9 trade about the 25-year-old minor-leaguer facing felony charges in a rape and sodomy case in which he later pleaded no contest to a lesser charge.
However, new information appears to contradict the Mariners' original version of events. Former Mariners pitching coach Rick Adair said he told general manager Jack Zduriencik about Lueke's troubles well before the deal.
And contrary to Mariners claims that there was nothing they could do after the trade, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said he made a standing offer that night to take Lueke back.
According to the timeline of events supplied by Baker, (recently fired) Mariners pitching coach Rick Adair -- who was the Rangers' minor league pitching coordinator during the Lueke fiasco -- personally informed general manager Jack Zduriencik of the Lueke situation before the trade was consummated, and Zdurienick apparently didn't delve any further into the matter -- as evidenced by his failure to perform a five-second Google search on Lueke's name, which is sort of mindblowing in this day and age -- after Jon Daniels told Zdurienick that Lueke had been involved in an incident and had been "acquitted."
Hours after the trade was completed, Mariners president Chuck Armstrong -- a strong advocate of groups who oppose violence against women -- learned of the Lueke situation and immediately ordered Zdurienick to substitute Lueke for another player in the Rangers organization. Zdurienick says that the Rangers rebuffed that request, but Jon Daniels says that the Rangers "offered several times to reacquire Lueke in a separate transaction," including once on the same night of the deal, and also says that his offer to reacquire Lueke is a standing offer.
What I think happened -- and what seems to make the most sense given the facts presented here by Baker -- is that Zdurienick had a pretty firm understanding of the Lueke situation, but went ahead and acquired him anyway, perhaps not figuring that his inclusion would create such an uproar at the top level of the Mariners organization and that he could quell any opposition. When Armstrong blew his top, Zdurienick hastily shunted the blame onto the Rangers as a means of covering his own ass. As far as why the Mariners appear to have lied outright to the press about all of this, and why they're painting the Rangers as bad guys who knowingly pulled a fast one on the Mariners and refuse to take back their bad egg, I'm not sure, but it certainly does not reflect well on the reputation and/or honesty of the Seattle front office.
I'm also pretty sure that the Rangers resent the Mariners' implication that they are liars, and it would not surprise me if relations between the two teams cool to the point that they don't hook up again for another trade for a pretty long time.