Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cashman, Pay Attention, Cliff Lee Was Made Available

Since we are in the market of righting wrongs and signing players that we should have acquired years ago the news that Phillies ace Cliff Lee was made available this morning intrigues me. Lee is 35 years old and is owed a ton of money likely for the next three seasons, $25 million in each of 2014 and 2015 and a vesting option for 2016 worth $27.5 million. The Phillies have announced that they would not be willing to eat any of his or teammate Cole Hamels salary in a trade so that is good news for the Yankees since it would bring down the asking cost prospect wise.

I do not pretend to be a Phillies farm system expert, nor do I profess to be a Phillies expert, so I struggle to know what they would want in return but I would think a package would start with Gary Sanchez. Sanchez is blocked by McCann for at least the next five seasons, if not six, and just hitting the AA level his trade value may not get higher. Brett Gardner does not make much sense for the Phillies after the news that fellow outfielder Domonic Brown so that options is automatically off the table. I am a professed prospect humper, I have said it many times, but if it takes Sanchez or one of Austin Romine and JR Murphy mixed in with some pitching or positional prospects not named Tyler Austin, Slade Heathcott, etc then I think the Yankees have to take advantage of their catching depth right now and pull the trigger, even if it costs David Adams (obviously sarcasm) this time.

Lee pitched to a 2.87 ERA with a 9.0 K/9 ratio and a minuscule 1.3 BB/9 ratio in 2013 in 222 2/3 innings. Lee would absolutely improve the Yankees pitching staff and essentially make Hiroki Kuroda a #3 starter, thus limiting his innings, and would make Ivan Nova possibly the best #4 starter in all of baseball. In true Yankees form we could also still go after Masahiro Tanaka for the future and make David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, Adam Warren, and anyone else not named Michael Pineda, Rafael DePaula, or Jose Campos available in a trade to help elsewhere.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)