The New York Post reported late Thursday night that the New York Yankees are on the verge of acquiring Mariner ace Cliff Lee. And that they are willing to trade top prospect Jesus Montero to do so.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman and Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik have been in constant contact over the last week, but it was only last night that the Seattle GM told Yankee officials he wanted to move quickly, possibly before the All-Star break.
The Yanks were not assured of obtaining Lee since other clubs such as the Mets, Twins and Rangers were in talks. But the Yanks were definitely making the strongest move last night, coming from seeming disinterest into the clear front-runner and last night it seemed they were all but certain to obtain the 31-year-old lefty.
The Yanks like Montero a great deal, but they were willing to use him as bait for both Lee and Roy Halladay in the offseason. They are deep in catching prospects and could never be sure that Montero could actually make it as a catcher in the majors since that is the suspect area of the game. He is considered one of the elite hitting prospects in the minors, though he was hitting just .253 with six homers and 34 RBIs this season at Triple-A.
I did not expect the Yankees to be willing to part with Montero. I should have known beter, though. This would be a terrific long-term move for the Yankees if it happens. Andy Pettittte may retire after this season, Javier Vazquez is unlikely to still be around and the Yankees are catching-rich in the minors.