Teams Are Calling About Cliff Lee

GM Jack Zduriencik told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that teams are calling the Mariners to see if Cliff Lee is available. Those clubs see the Mariners’ 25-41 record and hope that they’re ready to sell, but that’s not how Zduriencik sees it.

“I say, ‘Look, I appreciate the phone call, but what we’re trying to do is get back in this thing,’” Zduriencik said.

The M’s are in last place in the AL West, 12.5 games out of a playoff spot, but Zduriencik has not taken names of potential trade targets from other teams. He says he’s not going to “wave the white flag just yet,” but knows that a number of teams will want to chat if that changes.

Lee, 32 in August, has a 2.88 ERA in nine starts since returning from an abdominal injury. He has 7.9 K/9 and a stingy 0.5 BB/9 in 68.2 innings. His $9MM salary is a bargain and he projects as a Type A free agent after the season. That means his team will get two top picks if Lee turns down arbitration to sign elsewhere. Offering arbitration is risky in some cases, but Lee will almost certainly turn it down.

47 Responses to Teams Are Calling About Cliff Lee Leave a Reply

  1. bobbybaseball 5 years ago

    His salary is $9M (not $8M), though that is still a bargain for sure.

  2. elclashcombo 5 years ago

    “I say, ‘Look, I appreciate the phone call, but what we’re trying to do is get back in this thing,’” Zduriencik said.


    • ReverendBlack 5 years ago

      Seriously. I know it’s the AL West, but … no.

  3. Ken 5 years ago

    He was in Milwaukee for years and they always had more talent than this Mariners team does, yet they were rarely competitive. He should know that the M’s aren’t a .500 team, let alone a contender. Time to start taking calls for whoever is tradeable on that roster…

  4. bbxxj 5 years ago

    I think it would be very smart for the Twins to get in on Lee for the following reasons:

    1. While it may take Ramos plus a bit more with all the teams bidding on him, he will almost certainly leave and recoup some prospects in terms of draft picks.

    2. He would further solidify their playoff bid by bumping Blackburn to the pen making both the rotation and pen that much better and deeper.

    3. Along with Liriano and whatever RHP they want to mix in (Slowey and either Pavano or Baker) they would have a true elite playoff rotation for the first time in years. I think Lee/Liriano/Slowey could make up the best AL playoff rotation.

    • ronny9 5 years ago

      As a sox fan, i hate to admit it; but there is no way this top three touches CC, Pettite and Burnett (or maybe Hughes this year).

      Just no way. It’s better than not trading for Cliff Lee; but it’s not close to the Yankees. And even the sox have a better 1-3 than the Twins. it’s not close.

      • AisoRed 5 years ago

        Well the Brewers have a better 1-3 than any of your East coast teams. /sarcasm

      • bbxxj 5 years ago


        Lee: 2.88-1.93-15.00
        Liriano: 2.90-2.11-4.14
        Slowey: 3.84-4.03-3.44

        Sabathia: 4.00-4.24-2.53
        Pettitte: 2.46-3.75-2.50
        Burnett: 4.33-4.61-1.91

        You’re right, its not close.

    • ReverendBlack 5 years ago

      That’s a serious overstatement bro.

  5. 04Forever 5 years ago

    when i read this quote, “I say, ‘Look, I appreciate the phone call, but what we’re trying to do is get back in this thing,”, all i can think of is that movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall when Sarah is talking to Albus in bed, “Oh look, im Albus Snow! BS! BS! BS! BS!”. that quote is so stupid, why does he need to posture like that i mean really

    • ReverendBlack 5 years ago

      I imagine there’s an awkward pause in each of those conversations with GMs after he says that. Like they’re waiting for him to start laughing before they do.

  6. AisoRed 5 years ago

    I’d like a three-way deal to go down with Seattle, Milwaukee, and a third team getting Lee. We can ship Hart+ over to Seattle and the third team would send us some much needed pitching prospects.

    • ronny9 5 years ago

      You do realize there is a better chance that the Mariners turn around and make the playoffs than there is Corey Hart being the center of a trade for Cliff Lee. They are not going to want a 30 year old player with a year and 3 months of team control (not to mention the cost for the rest of the time for Hart).

      They’re going to look for a MLB ready (or darn close) player with 3-5 years of team control; plus a couple middle of the road prospects.

      • AisoRed 5 years ago

        Which is why there is a plus sign after Hart. I didn’t say he was the center piece, I just know they have some interest in him. Of course the 3rd team in on the deal could send players Seattle’s way as well.

        • ronny9 5 years ago

          I just don’t see it working; there is no way the third team would be able to satisfy both:

          -What the Brewers would want for value in return for Hart (who while costly for a smaller market team, is having a great season).

          -What Seattle would want to balance out Hart for Lee.

          hope that came across clear enough. Basically the third team would have to give Seattle a couple good prospects and Milwaukee a good prospect and a lower lever prospect (at least). That’s four young players (at least) for 3 months of Cliff Lee.

          • AisoRed 5 years ago

            Well, I can dream. Also keep in mind that the team who gets him will get 2 draft picks if they offer arbitration.

          • raffish 5 years ago

            I’m sure Milwaukee would love to dump Hart’s elevating salary and pending free agency while he’s resurrected his career for a moment, but Seattle doesn’t really need him.

          • AisoRed 5 years ago

            Well Seattle needs offense in general. Mat Gamel is starting to light up AAA and I think Jack Z drafted him so we have potential pieces. Probably not enough though.

  7. timmytwoshoezzz 5 years ago

    Why does Milwaukee want Cliff Lee? No way they keep up with the Cards/Reds for 162 games. They need a better rotation top to bottom, not just a #1 starter. Time for Milwaukee to build toward 2011

    • AisoRed 5 years ago

      Where does it say Milwaukee wants Lee. I haven’t seen a single story suggest that. I agree though, we need to build towards 2011 since it will be our last chance to win with Fielder.

      • I think they should trade fielder if he cant lose some weight…build the team around braun.

        • AisoRed 5 years ago

          If we can get a good package for him, we will trade him this off season or at the next years trade deadline.

  8. progmatinee 5 years ago

    Could a three way deal be manufactured where the Rox give up Hawpe and a B level prospect for Lee? Is that too low? Hawpe projects as a Type A I understand.

  9. mattinglyfan 5 years ago

    Jack, give it up, your plan failed, time to move on and go back to the drawing board.

  10. If the mets rejected that deal, why is Z saying he isnt ready to sell???

  11. CMON DODGERS lets get a deal done

    • Msforever 5 years ago

      I kind of like the idea of James Loney being sent along with a couple lower level minor leaguers (since it doesn’t seem like the Dodgers have anyone close to being major league ready). And you guys can also throw in Kemp and Ethier too :)

  12. Beersy 5 years ago

    Everyone says the Padres need more hitting, but with no high impact bats available on the trade market wouldn’t it make sense for Hoyer to at least call the Mariners. Please hear me out.

    1. You would be strenghtening an already very good rotation and they always say that pitching wins ball games. the Padres could pray for a bunch of 2-1 or 3-2m games.

    2. Any prospects they would trade for Lee would be from the old regime and with the 2 draft picks they would get, Hoyer and Mcleod could bring in more of “there type of players”.

    3. The NL West is wide open and this may be the only time for a few years that the Padres have a shot at the playoffs. The Gonzalez issue isn’t going to go away, so why not shoot for the moon and try and make a run.

    4. How big a return are the Mariners looking for, because if I remember correctly they didn’t have to give up that much to acquire Lee.

    • Msforever 5 years ago

      I agree with everything you said except #4 which I think is irrelevant. The M’s probably should have had to have given up more for Lee last winter, but who’s fault is that? Not Jack Z’s. They should get market value for Cliff Lee.

      • Beersy 5 years ago

        I’m not saying that the M’s should give Lee away, they should get fair market value. I was just wondering how big a haul they would be looking for.

        • Msforever 5 years ago

          Probably less than what was traded for CC a few years back. I’d say 2 major league (or close) ready players plus some filler prospect should get it done.

          • Beersy 5 years ago

            If that’s the case then I hope Jed reads this site and calls Jack immediately. As long as Castro’s name wouldn’t come up, I think the Padres could do that.

          • Muggi 5 years ago

            They won’t get two blue-chip guys for Lee. Toronto barely got two blue-chips for Halladay, and that was for a full year and allowing the Phils to negotiate before the trade…

            Negotiating before the trade isn’t an option with Lee, as he’s made it pretty clear he’s going FA. They’ll get one blue-chip and two B prospects probably.

          • Msforever 5 years ago

            Yeah. I don’t think that they’ll necessarily get two blue chippers either. But I guess it’s possible that one of those B prospects you mention could be close to major league ready.

  13. MadisonMariner 5 years ago

    I posted this on the MLBTR Facebook feed, and it bears repeating here. It concerns the overall direction the M’s should take(not just trading Lee, but other things that they should do as well.):

    Now see, I don’t think Jack Z’s plan was all bad–the environment/dimensions of Safeco Field make it a pitcher’s park, and buidling the team around pitching and defense is not a bad idea. But Jack Z didn’t carry the plan far enough IMO, and he made several bad moves(bringing back the Griffey/Sweeney DH platoon, signing Eric Byrnes and giving him playing time in LF) that dug them in a hole early. And they’ve never recovered, obviously.

    I’m not sure who else they could’ve gotten this past offseason to play LF, but the future at the position is Michael Saunders and it’s his job to lose. That essentially shifts Bradley to DH where he belongs, and he’ll play there in 2011. CF and RF are obviously set as well with Guti and Ichiro, respectively. Langerhans can come back as the 4th OF.

    The shift to 3B must have made Jose Lopez’s bat disappear, but I don’t think he’s this bad, and I’d give him the rest of the season to figure things out. If Dustin Ackley is ready to go at 2B by the beginning of next year, they can move Figgins back to 3B, put Ackley at 2B, and trade Lopez for prospects this offseason–any good, young relief arms would be welcome.

    Jack Wilson is a go at SS for 2011, and his future replacement at SS–Nick Franklin, from the 2009 draft–is coming along nicely. That leaves 1B, and I recommend perhaps a strange strategy for the M’s–trade for Lance Berkman. Yes, Lance Berkman. I’m not sure what it would take, but he’s got an option for 2011 that the team can pick up. If they trade for him this summer, it might take a little bit more to get him for what would be a year and 3 months or so(give or take), but it would add a nice power hitting LH bat to the lineup and give the M’s the offensive boost they need.

    {Since the Astros have little 1B depth in their system, the M’s could send Casey Kotchmann to the Astros in the trade for Berkman–I realize Kotchmann isn’t the most appealing option, but he’d only be a fill-in for the Astros until the end of 2011, when he’s a free agent.}

    As for catcher–they need to rid themselves of Rob Johnson in the worst way. One proposed trade for Cliff Lee that I’ve read has the M’s sending Lee to the Twins in exchange for a package built around SP Kevin Slowey and C Wilson Ramos, who’s too good to be a backup to Mauer forever. I think that’s a great package(and perhaps throw in a 3rd prospect as well). Adam Moore and Wilson Ramos are very similar, and if the M’s sign a veteran catcher, than Moore and Ramos could compete for the 2nd catcher’s slot and eventually, one of them hopefully pulls away to win the starting job by midseason 2011. If one of them falters, the other is at AAA waiting to take over, too. As for the rotation, Slowey fills in the SP slot vacated by Lee, and the M’s probably only need to fill 1 slot in the rotation with Hernandez, Slowey, Fister, and Vargas all earning spots(RRS goes to long relief/spot starter and earns back a spot if Vargas or Fister blows it).

    (And for the final rotation spot, there’s always Erik Bedard. When Michael Pineda is ready, the spot is his.)

    Bench can be filled in by guys like Josh Wilson and Matt Tuiasosopo, just like this season. If they can find improvements on those guys in the free agent pool that don’t cost too much, then great.

    The bullpen…needs help, and hopefully the trade of Lopez would address that. Also, scour the waiver wire and minor league free agent pool this offseason for low risk, low cost and high reward arms that you can add on the cheap, and make sure Mark Lowe’s rehab is on schedule. Trading David Aardsma at the trading deadline this year is also a good idea–his stock has fallen, but it hasn’t bottomed out yet, so get whatever you can for him.

    And with all of that, I really do think the M’s could be competitive in the AL West in 2011. :)

    Update: That post was predicated on the idea of trading Cliff Lee to the Twins and getting Kevin Slowey and Wilson Ramos in return, obviously. 😉

  14. AisoRed 5 years ago

    What’s offense without pitching? Corey Hart is hot right now, but will not stay this way for very long. Besides his recent offensive numbers, he is an average defender and hitter. He is also going to command a lot more money come winter.

  15. Ramos and Slowey? Good luck with that.

    A top prospect and a solid number 3 starter for a rental?

  16. Who do you want from the Mets?

  17. raffish 5 years ago

    You make silly statements, whileaway. Lee and Liriano make the Twins a Yankee nightmare in a five game series, and a tough opponent in seven. Obviously the Yanks have a superior line-up, but the Twinkies are no slouches offensively, either. Twins + Lee = legitimate contender vs anyone.

  18. raffish 5 years ago

    Not just any rental.

  19. Msforever 5 years ago

    Actually it would be for Cliff Lee, and two first round draft picks for a top prospect and a solid number 3 starter. The two first rounders are an important aspect of this deal and Ramos and Slowey may not be enough since the team trading for Lee can just replace their prospects with prospects from the very deep 2011 draft class.
    Geez. People think the M’s are just gonna give Cliff Lee away for middling prospects. Cue the Michael Bowden rumor for Cliff Lee straight up.

  20. raffish 5 years ago

    Meija, Flores, Neise… some combination of talented youngsters.

  21. Yankees420 5 years ago

    “If he´s average who´s going to overpay for his services?” The arbitration system.

  22. the mets already rejected a deal with Neise as the centerpiece…
    they would be very reluctant to give Meija in a deal that they would not be guaranteed extra years on Lee

  23. How bout if we give you castillo straight up!!!

  24. raffish 5 years ago

    Who wouldn’t be reluctant to give up promising prospects? That’s not the point. The point is Cliff Lee lends a huge boost to your post-season chances, and an upgrade like that has a substantial price tag. If the World Series is a real possibility for your team, you make the move, even if it hurts a little. Why else do you play the game, (other than the $$$)?

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