Trade rumors: Yankees don’t have pieces for David Price but maybe for Cliff Lee

cliff-leeThis year’s Yankees squad is loaded with problems, but the same could be said for much of the American League East so they are technically battling for first place right now. However, for the team to have any real shot at a playoff run they are going to have to improve which means trades.

With huge holes in the starting rotation it may be best to plug those holes first. The problem is, according to Joel Sherman of the NY Post, the Yankees won’t be able to pry the top available names, David Price and Jeff Samardzija, away from their respective teams.

Sherman noted that Price, who will cost an arm and a leg in prospects, is unavailable to them as the Tampa Bay Rays would avoid trading within the division. Samardzija is a no-go because the Cubs want a “close-to-the-majors, high-end starting pitcher.” If the Yankees had that, he’d be in the majors right now so that rules him out.

Sherman lists John Danks, Jason Hammel and Ian Kennedy as other possibilities. The problem with that group is that none are the type of front-end dominant starters the Yankees would need to make up for the fact that they have one of the worst offenses in the AL. Giving up big-time prospects for any of them seems foolish.

One interesting name that is out there is Cliff Lee. The Phillies might be willing to deal him for a number of reasons. First of all, the Phillies are in last place, second, he has been dealing with pain in his elbow, and third, on top of the remainder of his $25 million salary he’s owed for this season, he’s also owed anywhere from $37.5 million to $52.5 million over the next two years depending on whether or not his option vests.

That combination may give the Yankees a chance to actually be able to swing a deal. The problems are that everyone needs pitching and they won’t be the only team bidding on him, that elbow pain could be a red flag warning of future injuries and the Yankees may not want to spend that kind of money.

It might be worth the risk though. As bad as the Yankees have been, they are still right in a playoff race. Lee, despite getting older, is still the same dominant pitcher that the Yankees tried to trade for multiple times in the past.

Lee is currently sporting a 3.18 ERA with a 8.1 K/9 and a 1.2 BB/9 in 68 innings. In his four seasons as a Phillie, in the latest go around, he’s been pretty consistent with a 2.83 ERA, a 8.9 K/9 and a 1.4 BB/9.

Personally, I don’t see the Yankees making a huge push for the World Series this season. If the can land Lee by picking up his large salary and throwing in a few prospects that’s fine, but it would be hard to see them giving up some of their better chips for a guy that will be 37 next summer and will still command top dollar. Any deals the Yankees make this year, Lee included, should be made with 2015 and 2016 in mind as well.

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.
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19 Responses to Trade rumors: Yankees don’t have pieces for David Price but maybe for Cliff Lee

  1. walter says:

    I don't care what the Phillies say. They have to be desperate to unload Lee's contract. Elbow pain is more than red flag– it's a screeching alarm. I can't see Yanks giving up much for him — and they'd have to get some financial relief from Phils too. If Yanks were to pay say $15 mil/yr and give Phils a couple of mid-tier prospects (say Burawa, Bichette) that would be more than generous. They'll hold out for more. But they signed Lee. Let them pay the freight if they're unreasonable.

  2. Kevin S says:

    Agreed–this offense won't improve much–management needs to set themselves up for The future–Lee won't significantly improve this team

  3. mlblogsnewyorkyankees13 says:

    I've wanted Cliff Lee in pinstripes for the longest time. With that being said, will the 2014 Cliff Lee really help the Yankees? He could help get Vidal Nuno out of the starting rotation, that's what he could do. I'd say for Cashman to go for Lee, why not.

    • Kevin S says:

      Yeah let's get even older & burdened with bad contracts. In case you haven't noticed, pitching isn't this team's majos problem. Lee can't drive in runs.

  4. Gary says:

    If I were the Yankees I wouldn't go after lee when they tried to get him before he signed with the phillies instead I don't care to much for lee besides his wife said she don't like Yankees fans lee is a waste of time and money I wouldn't give up anyone for him. Yankees got to many injured pitchers they don't need to add another one

    • Mark Panuthos says:

      I love that. She said that Yankees' fans were rude, so they opted for Philly! I agree with your sentiment – but he's a great pitcher and with the exception of Tanaka, he's better than anyone else currently pitching for the Yankees. My concern, which has already been expressed, is that if the Phillies are willing to deal him, it probably indicates that he's got serious damage to his elbow. On the other hand, if the Steinbrenners don't act boldly now – given the peculiar economics to Yankees' baseball – cashing out on the season while still technically in the running would be disastrous.

      • They're only technically in the running. Realistically, they have no shot short of CC Sabathia coming back and immediately returning to his 2012 form. For the long-term sake of the team it's better to be realistic.

        • Mark Panuthos says:

          CC returning to 2012 form? well, then I'd say they have no shot. Plus, its very likely that the wild cards won't be coming out of the AL East. I hope they don't sign Lee, but as long as they don't unload Solarte and Betances (which I had heard on the YES network a few days ago was a real possibility) in order to get him (or anyone else), I'd be ok with the move.

  5. mike says:

    they need a second or third baseman.

  6. mike says:

    go get chase Headley from the padres. He's having a down year. Playing for SD who wouldn't.

  7. mike says:

    go get Samardzija. Give them Phelps, Sanchez to start

  8. mike says:

    try to get Hammels also. Through in Nuno and

  9. tom says:

    Yankees should not burn prospects just to get a front end starter. Getting 3rd starter or 4th starter would help Yankees land a better offensive player.

    However, those pitchers wont help Yankees. Danks is a flyout pitcher. Hammel is a 2nd half bust material. Kennedy belongs to a spacious park.

    I am going to pass on Lee because his velocity is diminishing even though he has better pitching skill than Sabathia. I don't like to burn few favorite prospects of mine for Lee's 2 and a half year service with elbow issue.

  10. Don Jon says:

    Does lee have 10-5 rights to block a trade. That could be a problem if he does. Also I think if the yankees are going to make a trade with the phillies it needs to involve us getting Mayberry jr. somehow because a right handed power OF is what we're missing from soriano playing bad and he can be a backup 1B so we can stop putting Smelly Johnson out there. I don't see why Kyle Kendrick couldn't also be an option. He's better then Nuno and phelps at least.

    • tom says:

      he does not meet that merit.

      • No. He hasn't been with the Phils long enough. He does have a limited no trade clause. Not sure if the Yankees are on the list of teams he'd block a deal to. Might mean they have to guarantee his option (which is $27.5 million for 2016).

  11. tom says:

    I was checking out Casey McGehee. A job in Japan seemingly makes him a better hitter. Unfortunately, he can't hit against LHP. Damn it.

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