Sometime yesterday in all of the Sunday afternoon excitement ennui, the Mariners pulled the trigger on a two-player deal that sent Josh Lueke (and his decidedly checkered past) packing to Tampa Bay in exchange for catcher John Jaso. Both USS Mariner and Lookout Landing have posted their initial impressions of the deal, and suffice to say that they're fairly positive, as the prevailing thought seems to be that Jaso is a solid bounceback candidate after a disappointing 2011 season, and somebody who could provide decent, cheap production at a position of dire need for the Mariners.
Seeing as how I don't presently regard Seattle as anything more than a peripheral threat as far as the 2012 season is concerned, I can't say that the direct impact of the deal itself does much to displace my interest level. What should capture the eyeballs of Rangers fans here, though, is the fact that this ostensibly closes the book on that ugly bit of fallout from last summer's Cliff Lee trade.
To make the first part of a rather long story short: Texas and Seattle kick names around as they attempt to hammer out an agreement. Lueke's name comes up. Rick Adair, Seattle's pitching coach at the time, allegedly voices his concerns about Lueke's prior felony charges on counts of rape and sodomy to Mariners executives (which later becomes one of the points of controversy). Jack Zduriencik inquires further into the matter with Jon Daniels, who allegedly replies that Lueke was "acquitted." Zduriencik considers this all fine and good, and the deal continues down the path towards completion.
And now for the nastier part: Mariners president -- and outspoken anti-women's violence advocate -- Chuck Armstrong finds out about Lueke's past, leading to supposed attempts to deal Lueke back to Texas and alleged rejections by the Rangers on the grounds that the deal was done, and there was no going back. Texas counters by saying that Seattle was adequately apprised of the incident before the deal went down, and, contrary to Seattle's claims, insists that there is still a standing offer to take Lueke back. Meanwhile, Adair -- who had recently been fired from his post -- continues to protest to the press that he told the Mariners everything that there was to know about Lueke before the deal went down, thereby shooting another gigantic hole in their "we didn't know!" argument.
And more than a year later ... well, here we are, with the Mariners never having taken the Rangers up on their apparent standing offer to take Lueke back for reasons I can only haphazardly guess at. Maybe the Mariners felt that they had a valuable property on their hands in Lueke, and weren't willing to send that property back to the Rangers in a make-good deal that very well might have landed them a lesser talent. Maybe Zduriencik and company managed to talk Armstrong down after what I'm assuming was initial anger on his part. Maybe the Mariners didn't want to be outed as liars. Or maybe it was some combination of all three.
But whatever the case, Lueke is gone ... gone in the sense that he will no longer be suiting up on a nightly basis for an oft-seen Rangers opponent, and will no longer serve as such a regular reminder of the intradivisional acrimony and all-around seediness that his crime, trial, and subsequent trade brought about.
I guess that deserves a "peace out." Well, at least I think it does.