He said, he said makes it to the Seattle Times front page: Coach says Mariners were told of Josh Lueke's criminal past
Executive summary: Josh Lueke is a minor league player obtained from the Rangers in the Cliff Lee deal. He entered a no-contest plea (equivalent to a guilty plea) in a rape and sodomy case in Bakersfield while in the Rangers system. The team was shocked, shocked to discover this when the news broke immediately after the trade, but now the word from the M's former pitching coach is that he knew about the case and told GM Jack Zduriencik about it well before the deal closed. M's president Chuck Armstrong claimed that he demanded that Jack Z call Texas back and get a PTBNL substituted, but that the Rangers refused. Rangers GM Jon Daniels said that Texas has offered to take him back and that the offer stands.
The M's, for at least 10 years, have sponsored a "Refuse to Abuse" campaign, so having this convicted felon in the organization is something of an embarrassment.
I'd imagine it went something like this:
The Mariners found out about his criminal history before the trade was finalized, talked to Texas about replacing him, but the Rangers would only give up a lesser prospect. The Mariners then decided to take the better player (Lueke) and then feign outrage over it, claiming that they are demanding another player. Texas offered to take him back, but the Mariners demanded better players than the Rangers originally offered knowing full well that they don't want to downgrade their prospect. The M's then tried to either have Lueke's history fly under the radar or put themselves into a position where they can try to say with a straight face, "We didn't know... we tried to get someone else... we don't approve of his actions." And at the end of the day, they drool over his awesome K/9 and mid-90's heat. I think Jack Z summed it up best when he said, "We're moving forward and he's pitching for us."
The only reason there's any dilemma, of course, is because Lueke is very good at pitching. Between Single-A and Triple-A this year, he has 91 strikeouts in 59.2 IP, recording more Ks than IP at every stop along the way. He also has a WHIP under 1.00 on the year. He's on the older side, but those strikeout rates are still superb.