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Rangers outbid Yankees to acquire Lee

ARLINGTON, Texas — Cliff Lee was indeed traded to a first-place team. Except it was the Texas Rangers and not the New York Yankees who got one of the most coveted players on the market.

Despite bankruptcy proceedings and unsettled ownership, the Rangers completed a six-player deal Friday with struggling Seattle to acquire one of baseball’s best pitchers for a serious run at their first playoff appearance since 1999.

“I’m going to try and go there and do everything I can to help them head in the direction they’re heading,” Lee said before flying from Seattle to Texas on Friday night. “They’re already in a good spot, have a great team and I just want to be one of the guys.”

Texas also got injured reliever Mark Lowe from the last-place Mariners for switch-hitting rookie first baseman Justin Smoak and three minor leaguers.

While the Rangers might have a hard time affording Lee long term, they have the All-Star left-hander now after the first major deal leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

The 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner for Cleveland, who pitched in last year’s World Series for Philadelphia, could make his first start for AL West-leading Texas on Saturday night against Baltimore.