The Yankees haven’t started talking with the Mariners about Cliff Lee yet, but they will have interest if Jack Zduriencik makes him available and so will the Mets. Several executives tell Joel Sherman of the New York Post that the Mariners have pro scouts eyeing rival teams’ minor league prospects, even though they haven’t decided to deal Lee at this point. But unless the M's go on a major hot streak, it looks like Lee will be traded for the third time since last summer.
"I would expect to see Lee traded barring a 20 out of the next 30 run by the Mariners,” an AL personnel man told Sherman. “I would not think he'd be traded this month, but if Seattle wants the best return, it would be better off doing it now."
Many teams will have interest in Lee, including the Yankees and the Mets. The Yankees believe the Mariners would ask for Jesus Montero or Austin Romine in a trade for Lee and they would prefer to hold onto their top prospects as long as the price is that steep. Mets officials tell Sherman that they’ll acquire a starter, possibly Lee, if they remain contenders.
Lee currently ranks as a Type A free agent, so his team will have the chance to obtain two top draft picks for him by offering arbitration this winter. Barring the unexpected, Lee's team will offer arbitration and he will turn it down.