The Twins, Mets, Rangers, Phillies, Tigers, and Rays have all been connected to Mariners’ pitcher Cliff Lee in recent weeks and the Yankees have a rotation that goes five deep. Still the name Cliff Lee just won’t shake a connection with the Yankees as well as those other six teams.
Here’s the thing, the Yankees want Lee, they really do, but right now there isn’t a huge need. Also, general manager Brian Cashman doesn’t like to double-dip – trade away prospects for a player who is just going to become a free agent at the end of the year. The problem is that the Yankees really do want Lee and getting him now not only increases their chances at repeating as World Champions, but would hurt a few of their rivals chances as well.
So what are the Yankees going to do? Well according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Yankees are monitoring the trade market for Lee and would get involved if the asking price was to their liking. Rosenthal’s sources seem to think that not only would the asking price for Lee have to be to the Yankees liking, they’d probably also have to find a suitor for Javier Vazquez to open a rotation spot for Lee.
That could certainly be possible. Despite Vazquez’s poor start he has come on strong as of late and even though he comes with a decent price tag, he’s earning $11.5 million this season, because he is a free agent after this season some team would likely be willing to take on that burden.
Buster Olney of ESPN has also reported that the Yankees are right now on the outside looking in on the trade talks, but that could change. He said the Bombers are confident that they could put together a package centered around their young catchers that they feel Seattle would jump at.
That’s probably true. If the Yankees don’t get Lee this season it will simply be because they don’t want him right now, not that they wouldn’t be able to get him. Seattle is said to be interested in a young catcher, which the Yankees have plenty of (Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, JR Murphy, Gary Sanchez, and you could even include Francisco Cervelli). They could also include shortstop Eduardo Nunez whom the Mariners have said to have scouted in the past. If they threw in a talented pitcher like Zach McAllister or Jose Ramirez, the Yankees probably wouldn’t have much problem getting Lee at all.
So we’ll have to see what happens in the next couple of week. It is really doubtful that Lee will come to the Bronx, but it is certainly possible. Any thing is possible really. The Yankees might like the final asking price on Lee. They could get a phone call with a great offer for Vazquez. In the end there will probably be another more motivated team that lands lee.
In the end, the Yankees will have their chance to get Lee no matter what – this winter.