ESPN’s Buster Olney reported recently that the New York Yankees will keep their hand — or their wallet, as the case may be — in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes. Even if it is highly unlikely they will trade for the Seattle ace.
the American League East standings will keep the Yankees engaged on Lee, because getting to October is no sure thing — not with the Red Sox having climbed back into the standings despite their injuries, and not with the Rays lurking as a team that all talent evaluators view as deep in talent and potential. The inconsistent Rays are capable of drifting out of contention, but if they won 20 of their next 22 games, nobody would be surprised.
So the Yankees will stay in on the Lee talks and probably make an offer for him. They probably won’t get him, recent history tells us, especially if the Minnesota Twins decide to get fully engaged in the trade talks. But they will continue to hold a seat at the Cliff Lee table. Just in case.
I still believe it is more likely the Yankees wait and make a run at Lee when he is a free agent in the coming off-season.