After the Seattle Mariners had all but sealed a deal with the New York Yankees for Jesus Montero, David Adams and Zach McAllister, the Texas Rangers jumped into the fray and grabbed P Cliff Lee instead. Texas was willing to give up top prospect Justin Smoak, one of the few prospects in baseball who might be even more enticing to the Mariners than Montero.
The Rangers are on pace to finish with the highest win total in team history and it makes sense for the team to try to go in a win-now mode. Given the uncertainty of the ownership position, the Rangers aren't in a position to add a huge contract to the payroll, which makes Lee just about a perfect fit. Lee costs only around $4 million for the rest of the season, so the Rangers were willing to give up something very valuable.