So maybe the Mariners did just fine.
Maybe Justin Smoak and the prospects they got from the Rangers are better than the three players they gave the Phillies for Cliff Lee.
But let's remember, that was never the idea. The idea was that by teaming Lee with Felix Hernandez, the M's would have an unbeatable 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation.
That idea didn't work.
For five weeks now, the M's started Lee and Hernandez in back-to-back games. For five weeks now, Lee and Hernandez were nearly unbeatable, with a combined 10-2 record and 1.98 ERA -- with five complete games.
And for those five weeks, the Mariners have still been well below .500.
They won most of the games that Lee and Hernandez started (11 of 16). They lost almost every game with anyone else on the mound (18 of 23).
And they went from 7 1/2 games out of first place in the American League West to 16 games out of first place.
It didn't work, which is exactly why Lee is on the way out of town. He could still win the AL West, but it would be for the Rangers, not the Mariners.
As for the Yankees, the team that thought it was winning the Lee trade sweepstakes (and remains the favorite in this winter's Lee free-agent sweepstakes), all they get is the pleasure of not facing the Lee-Hernandez duo this weekend at Safeco Field. They could face Lee in August in Texas, and maybe in September in Texas, too.
Oh, and they could face Lee in October.
On to this final pre-All-Star edition of 3 to watch:
1. If the All-Star Game is about rewarding players who have performed the best in the first half of the season, then Stephen Strasburg doesn't belong. If it's about putting on the best show for the fans, it's hard to see how Strasburg doesn't belong. Think of it this way: When I tell you that Strasburg will be the starting pitcher in Giants at Nationals, Friday night (7:05 EDT) at Nationals Park , does that make you want to tune in and watch? Thought so.
2. Instead of facing the first-place Yankees Friday night in Seattle, Lee will get last-place Baltimore, probably in Orioles at Rangers, Saturday night (8:05 EDT) at Rangers Ballpark . Lucky Orioles. They've never beaten Lee in five tries, and already lost to him once this year. Of course, Lee has beaten the Yankees five of the last six times he has faced them, including twice in the World Series and once last month in New York. Meanwhile, the Yankees get Seattle's David Pauley, who lost both his starts against them when he pitched for the Red Sox.
3. So the way we understand this, the American League isn't going to replace CC Sabathia on the American League All-Star team until he actually starts Sunday's game in Seattle. Then, according to what AL manager Joe Girardi told reporters this week, he'll pick Jered Weaver to replace Sabathia on the roster. Which is nice, except that Weaver will then himself need to be replaced on the roster, because he's scheduled to start in Angels at A's, Sunday (4:05 EDT) at the Coliseum . Oh, and Trevor Cahill, the A's representative on the All-Star team, will need to be replaced, too, because he's pitching Sunday, too. Maybe Girardi can pick Zack Greinke (no, he's pitching Sunday!) or Carl Pavano (no, he's pitching Sunday!). Or maybe he'll find someone who actually will be eligible to pitch for him on Tuesday.