With the New York Post's Joel Sherman reporting that the Yankees are on the verge of acquiring Mister Cliff Lee, aka The Best Pitcher in All of Baseball, from the Seattle Mariners, it's time we at Walkoff Walk squirted out a quick listicle enumerating all the possible places Lee might end up.
Because after all, there's no way Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik would do something so stupid as to shift the entire balance of power in the league by sending Lee to the team with the best record in baseball, right? RIGHT? C'mon Jack, even I'd be embarrassed as a Yankees fan to have this wild trade pair up Lee and former Indians teammate CC Sabathia, especially in these already trying times for Clevelanders.
To wit, here are the teams still alive in the hunt for Lee, in no particular order:
- Yankees: Because it's not good enough that three-fifths of the rotation is on the All Star roster. Really, they don't need Cliff Lee. But hey, he's a strikeout guy who never walks anyone, and he's a lefty, and he proved in World Series Game One last year that he can go on the road, hop on a subway, and make any team look like a bunch of schmucks. Brian Cashman is said to be offering catcher Jesus Montero, their number one prospect who can rake but has the catcher skills of a Mike Piazza. However, the Yankees aren't special in their lust for Lee; EVERY team wants this guy!
- Phillies: Like the Phillies, they feel real bad about how they treated their summer 2009 crush and are sending him bouquets of pink roses weekly at this point. GM Ruben Amaro put his rep on the line when he brought in Roy Halladay and sent Lee away, but facing a shortage in capable starters this year, Amaro wants Lee back. They'd probably have to part ways with Meech's best buddy Domonic Brown, a stud outfielder who is killing his way through all levels of the minors. And even with Cliff Lee on the team, they'd still have to figure out a way to correct their worsening offense.
- Reds: Unlike the Reds, who are seemingly making magic in every facet of the game in 2010. Good starters, good defense, good offense, good relievers, and a great manager. Cliff Lee, however, would provide the team with that One Guy Who Can Anchor a Rotation and tip the division in their favor from the pitcher-laden Cardinals. Do the Reds have enough MLB-ready prospects to deal? Well they can send first baseman Yonder Alonso since he's pretty much blocked at the big league level by All Star Joey Votto. But maybe Jackie Z. wants a little bit more in return.
- Twins: And the Twins have a little bit more to send, which is why they are among the front-runners in this horse race. Rumours have catcher Wilson Ramos and outfielder Aaron Hicks in the discussion. If the Twins can snag Lee, he'll move from one pitcher-friendly AL park to another. Also, he'll pal around with Carl Pavano and maybe even grow a moustache so they can be twins. Get it?
- Rangers: The Rangers would love to get it. They might not have a penny to spend on extending Lee's contract past the 2010 season, they might not have an owner, and they might not have a pitcher-friendly ballpark, but they do have Justin Smoak. Smoak is not exactly killing it in 2010 but he's just a lad and needs a bit more refining. Plus the Rangers are in talks to include Money Baby in any Cliff Lee deal.
- Mets: Haha, just kidding. The Mets have no money and no prospects.
- Mariners: Wait, what? I thought the Mariners were trying to dump Lee to get a boatload of prospects? Well yes, but Lee himself intimates that the team passed up a golden opportunity to lock him down for years to come. Shame that Jack Z. turned down the idea in the spring because the only memory that Seattle fans will have of the time Cliff Lee played for their team is a month on the DL, two-and-a-half months of dazzling pitching, and endless trade rumours.
So, where will Lee end up? I've got $20 on the Miami Heat.