Discussion: The Tribe And Cliff Lee

At 14-22 entering Saturday's full slate of action, the Indians are in last place in the American League Central.  They have the talent to contend in that division, but it's simply not clicking right now.  Staff ace and 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee has a $9MM option for 2010.  That's a cheap price tag, but are the Indians better off dealing him this summer, or even this offseason, for a crop of young prospects?  He may not bring on a Matt LaPorta-caliber player, as C.C. Sabathia did last season, but the Tribe could definitely load up on some fresh talent.

FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal addressed the issue recently, and his logic makes sense.

"High-revenue teams surely are intrigued by the possibility that the Indians might trade left-hander Cliff Lee.  The Indians are less enthralled by the idea.  Lee's contract — $5.75 million this season with an $8 million club option for 2010 — remains a bargain.  And club officials are not ready to give up on this season, much less the next.

If the Indians wished to move Lee, they might get a better return this offseason — when the free-agent market for starting pitching will be thin — than they would before the July 31 non-waiver deadline."  

"Right now, such a deal is not even under consideration," Rosenthal concludes.  Will it be a possibility this offseason?  What could the Tribe demand in return, and what club looks to be a good fit?

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