Joel Sherman reported in the NY Post today that the Yankees are on the verge of acquiring Cliff Lee. He followed up that post with more information on his blog. Both are worth a read, because there are all kinds of things that don't make sense...
1. Why would the Yankees offer up catching prospect Jesus Montero for Lee? Their starting rotation has been one of their strengths this year. Sherman claims it is because they have some concerns about their rotation holding up in the playoffs. He claims it might mean moving Phil Hughes to the bullpen. He (and ESPN apparently) suggest that Javier Vazquez could be traded in the deal, too.
Presumably, Vazquez would be sent back to level out the salaries - because the Yankees don't want to pay too much? Really? Or would the Mariners believe they can trade him and get something for him to a National League team?
And Hughes has been great, but the Yankees recently skipped a start for him, and when he came back he had a bad night. Are they hiding an injury? Or are they so worried about his innings (he only threw 86 last year) that they're really going to move him back to the bullpen? Could that not have been foreseeen when they moved him into the rotation to begin with?
2. Why would the Mariners want Montero over Wilson Ramos AND Aaron Hicks?
You can argue that Ramos is a better prospect straight up than Montero. Montero is younger, both were highly regarded, and both are struggling in AAA, but nobody really knows if Montero can stay at catcher. There is no doubt about that with Ramos.
So either the rumor earlier this week is wrong, or this one is wrong. I'm guessing both, and I thin it's Seattle (along with the Yankees) working to drive Lee's value up.
And if I'm wrong? Well, then you're REALLY going to want the TwinsCentric Trade Deadline Primer that is coming out on Sunday night. Because it lists Montero and Lee as two of the 150 players that might be available. Just like it listed Russell Branyan (already traded to Mariners) and Bengie Molina (already traded to Rangers). And you can use it to find the other few dozen starting pitchers that are available on one of it's handy-dandy cheat sheets. It'll be on sale as an ebook on Sunday night for $9.95.
But I really hope we aren't looking at that starting pitcher list for the next best alternatives by Sunday night. And I don't think we will.