The Seattle Mariners want the New York Yankees to take left-handed pitching ace Cliff Lee off their hands.
The Yankees don't seem to want to play that game. At least not right now.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports thinks Lee will be a Yankee one way or another.
The Yankees are going to end up with Mariners left-hander Cliff Lee. The only question is whether they land him in a trade this summer or as a free agent this winter — and a trade might not be as far-fetched as it appears.
True, the Yankees currently boast five healthy and effective starters. True, they simply could wait for Lee to become a free agent and sign him in the offseason without losing any young talent. But one rival executive says the Yankees will be undeterred in their pursuit of Lee on the trade market.
His reasoning is simple.
“Top of the rotation starter,” the exec says.
Alas, this notion seems to have Boston Red Sox fans -- who will seemingly forever feel stomped on by the Yankees and have an inferiority complex about them -- in an uproar. But ... but ... what about us, they scream.
Lee will be, without a doubt, the best available starting pitcher at the trade deadline. The Mariners will want prospects in return and close to a handful of them. While the Yankees have a few prospects they could offer to entice Seattle, the Red Sox have even more gems that could be traded.
Lars Anderson, Ryan Kalish, Felix Doubront. Three prospects who will be ready or close-to-ready for the big leagues by the time July 31 rolls around. Casey Kelly, Reymond Fuentes, Anthony Rizzo. Three prospects that need a little seasoning, but will be there in a year or so.
If the Sox wanted to package any of these guys, they could probably acquire Lee. But "want" is the key word to all of this. Red Sox GM Theo Epstein is frugal when it comes to trading prospects, especially for a pitcher on the wrong side of 30. The second part of the equation is this: does Lee have a spot in the rotation?
With Josh Beckett and John Lackey locked up through 2014, and Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz to be locked up for a long time, too, there isn't much room for Lee. Unless the Red Sox plan on cutting Daisuke Matsuzaka (yeah, right) or ditching Tim Wakefield (no way), Lee doesn't have a spot in the Boston rotation this season.
But it is nice to dream, isn't it? Especially when it means stickin' it to the Yankees.
Sure, Sox fans can dream. And I wouldn't blame Boston a bit for trying to get Lee -- he's a tremendous pitcher. Here's what I don't get about the blurb above, though. You are trying to tell me Boston would not push Matsuzaka or Wakefield aside to get Lee into their rotation. Sorry, but they would do that in a heartbeat.