Smoak and mirrors

Updated: September 14, 2010, 10:01 AM ET
By Buster Olney

The Mariners' choices in their trade of Cliff Lee are destined to hang over them for years to come, and not only because of the fact they acquired a player who had pleaded no contest to a felony -- a decision which may have led to the dismissal of Seattle's professional scouting director Monday, as Larry Stone writes.

The debate will go on about whether the M's were right in picking Justin Smoak, rather than the Yankees' Jesus Montero, as the centerpiece in their swap of Lee. And while Smoak is a respected prospect who can hit for power and generates a high on-base percentage, rival evaluators are projecting an extraordinary future for Montero, who thrived in Triple-A this year, even at age 20.