Contenders in both leagues are calling about Cliff Lee and the Mariners would deal the lefty for the right return, sources tell John Hickey of AOL FanHouse. And Hickey says there seems to be consensus that GM Jack Zduriencik will look for players who can help the M’s in 2011 or 2012. The Mariners brought Russell Branyan back over the weekend, but realistically, they are out of contention for 2010.
Mariners prospects Alex Liddi, Dustin Ackley, Carlos Triunfel and Johan Limonta are in AA, so Hickey suggests the club could look to add outfielders and pitchers to that group. About ten days ago, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Mariners are looking for young hitters in possible Lee trades.
The Mariners don’t figure to start rebuilding completely, so they would presumably want players who can help them win in 2012 at the latest. Prospects like Ackley could help the team soon, and Zduriencik has core players like Felix Hernandez, Ichiro and Franklin Gutierrez under multi-year deals. The Mets, Twins, Rangers and Cardinals are among the teams who could show interest in Lee in the coming month.