Monday, May 31, 2010

Sherman: Expect Yanks To Get Lee, But Not At The Deadline

From Joel Sherman:
The Yankees are just one of many teams that have begun to proceed as if Cliff Lee — not Roy Oswalt — will be the prize of the July 31 trade market.

That means they have increased their scouting attention on a pitcher they already were following closely because he projects as the best pitcher of the coming free-agent class. Remember that the Yankees had a scout on almost every start CC Sabathia made in 2008 in anticipation of the lefty’s free agency after the season.

One AL executive went so far as to say last week, “I have no doubt that the Yankees will sign Cliff Lee.”


But having their eyes on Lee does not mean the Yankees will be at the forefront of the derby come July 31.
Sherman then goes on to mention three reasons why he believes the Yankees will wait until after the season to add Lee. Here's a summary of those reasons:
  1. The Yankees would rather do the same thing they did with CC and wait until the offseason.

  2. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said “I hope we get back in this and that we have what we expected, Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee as a dynamic duo atop the rotation,” earlier this week. However, he then goes on to mention that they're 10 under .500 and last year they traded Jarrod Washburn when they were just 3.5 behind in the wild card race. He also says that "outside executives" believe Zduriencik is "much more likely to act [with Lee] than Astros owner Drayton McLane will with Oswalt."

  3. The Mariners are looking for a catcher and he's not sure if the Yankees would be willing to trade Jesus Montero for Lee. Though he did say that they were willing to trade him for Halladay this offseaon. The Yankees believe more than ever that Montero will be a MLB catcher, and Sherman thinks that will be one of the main factors that stop them from trading him.
Basically, it all comes down to his belief that the Yankees would rather wait and sign him instead of giving up any prospects in a trade. And while I'm not too sure those reasons back up his main point, I do agree that it's much more likely that the Yankees will wait until after the year to get Lee.

That said, in the end it will all boil down to the situation the Yankees are in at the deadline. If they're rotation is healthy and they're playing well, they'll wait. But if for some reason they're in desperate need of a starter, and a trade for Lee might make or break their season, I could see them making a deal if the price was right.

It's late July and you're Brian Cashman. The Yankees are six back and in desperate need for a starting pitcher that can put them over the top. Zduriencik calls you and offers up Lee for a package of prospects centered around Montero. What do you do?

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