I am surprised that more fuss has not been made about MLB's decision to loan the Rangers $40 million midseason. They used these funds, in part to acquire Cliff Lee. This acquisition has markedly altered the AL West race:
- Lee's last four starts have been against the A's or Angels. Texas has scored only 12 runs (3, 3, 1, and 5) in these key games. Yet, they are 3-1 and Lee has pitched at least 8 innings in every start (they took him out Friday with a 5-1 lead after 8 innings).
- If Texas goes 0-4 with Scott Feldman starting, instead of leads of 7.5 and 10 games over the A's and Angels, respectively, they have leads of 2.5 and 5 games with 52 to play--a very tight race.
- As the A's have learned with the overworking of their bullpen, having starters leave in the 5th or 6th inning--a reasonable outing for Scott Feldman--carries over to the next couple games. Lee has average 8.6 innings per start for the Rangers in six games.
- Imagine the impact on the A's if MLB had provided them with $40 million to acquire Prince Fielder or another RBI producer. I would oppose that as well, but MLB took what should have a great divisional race and handed it to the Rangers.