Cliff Lee Rumors: Tuesday

The Twins offered prospects Wilson Ramos and Aaron Hicks to the Mariners for Cliff Lee, according to a report by Jeff Fletcher of AOL FanHouse yesterday. Reports have since indicated that the two clubs are not close to a deal. If nothing works out between the Twins and Mariners, other teams, such as the Yankees, Mets, Rangers and Reds would likely be involved. We'll keep track of all the day's Cliff Lee rumors right here, so check back later in the day to see if we have moved this post back to the top of the page with updates.

  • ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter link) hears that Lee trade talks are "heating up," since some teams want to add the southpaw as soon as possible.
  • An official from one team interested in Lee tells AOL FanHouse's Ed Price that his club has yet to hear back from Jack Zduriencik regarding what sort of return the Mariners are seeking.
  • B.J. Upton, now involved in the Lee rumors, tells Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times that he doesn't want the Rays to trade him (Twitter link). Joe Maddon also talks to Topkin about the Upton rumors, saying there's "nothing from our end regarding that being true."
  • The Yankees believe they could trade for Lee if they wanted to, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (via Twitter).
  • The Yankees are “kicking the tires” on Lee, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The source estimates that the Yanks have less than a 50% chance of obtaining Lee and suggests the Yankees could flip Javier Vazquez to another team if they do acquire Lee.
  • The Rays are on the periphery of the Lee sweepstakes, according to Rosenthal’s sources, who confirm that B.J. UptonCliff Lee trade talk surfaced amoung scouts last night.
  • The Tigers like Lee, but aren't optimistic about acquiring him, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
  • Olney hears that the Mariners "really like" Brewers prospect Brett Lawrie (Twitter link). The 20-year-old second baseman recently made Baseball America's mid-season All-Star team. Lawrie "still strikes out too often and is a work in progress at second base," but is among the offensive leaders at AA. The Mariners have 2009 first rounder Dustin Ackley, also a second baseman, hitting well in AA, though Ackley's presence doesn't mean they can't pursue Lawrie.
  • Morosi hears that talks between the Mets and Mariners have not progressed much (Twitter link).
  • Jerry Crasnick's sources estimate that there's a 60-100% chance that the Mariners trade Lee this month. The Mets prefer Lee to innings eaters and the Yankees ‘covet’ him, but the Phillies would be more likely to pursue Dan Haren if they go after an ace, according to Crasnick’s report for ESPN.com. One AL executive suggested the Mariners might have to explore three-way trades to get as much as possible in return for the left-hander.
  • A rival executive told Ed Price of AOL FanHouse that the Twins will ‘go hard’ after Lee. Some believe the Rangers called Omar Beltre up to showcase him for the Mariners.
  • Peter Gammons hears rumblings of a Lee-B.J. Upton deal and wonders if a third team could be involved along with the Mariners and Rays (Twitter link).
  • Rosenthal hears that no deal between the Twins and Mariners is imminent. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik declined to characterize the talks he has had with the Twins, but Jon Paul Morosi hears that the Mariners have scouted the Twins extensively. Executives were divided on whether the Twins, who have traditionally held onto their prospects, would offer Hicks and Ramos in the same deal.


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156 Comments on "Cliff Lee Rumors: Tuesday"


bbxxj
5 years 1 month ago

You have to think what Fletcher heard was that the Twins were willingto deal Hicks and Ramos but in the sense that either one could be moved in a Lee package and not that Hicks and Ramos was the package.

TwinsVet
5 years 1 month ago

I sure as hell hope so. “Would you like Hicks or Ramos?” is a helluva lot different than “Would you like Hicks AND Ramos?”

The latter makes me pretty uneasy.

Muggi
5 years 1 month ago

Yeah that’s a pretty big overpay if true…and a pretty big misreading of the market by Jack Z if he didn’t accept it.

TWO blue-chippers is what the Phils gave up for basically 4 seasons of Halladay. It’s a lot to pay for 3mo of Cliff Lee.

5 years 1 month ago

The Phillies traded for 1 season of Halladay plus whatever discount they received on the extension he signed with them, but not the extension itself.

At $20 million for the next 3 seasons, he’s pretty much being paid market value in 2011-2013. We can quibble about the value of not having to sign him to a 5 or 6 year extension, but the comparison is really:

2 top-100 prospects for 1/2 season of Cliff Lee, or 2 top prospects plus another prospect for 1 season of Halladay and some negotiating leverage at a similar salary (remember the Blue Jays kicked in $6 mil in the deal).

Would Lee reject a 3-year/$65 million dollar extension if the Twins offered it at the time of the trade? It’s an open question, but 2 top-100 prospects for 1/2 season of Lee seems fair.

Muggi
5 years 1 month ago

That’s not exactly true…Halladay had agreed to the extension prior to the trade; the negotiating window was part of the deal. It’s the reason Halladay’s deal was announced virtually simultaneously. The Halladay deal was essentially Taylor-Drabek-D’arnaud for Halladay (WITH an extension in place) and $6m.As for the extension…I highly doubt Lee would accept that, as it’s basically the same deal Halladay has (well Doc is 3/60, but it’s close), and the Phils offered it to Lee first. Multiple sources have said Lee’s agent responded to that offer by saying Cliff wanted CC’s deal.Maybe it’s fair, but I highly doubt they get another offer with two blue-chips.

dylanp5030
5 years 1 month ago

Taylor…not Brown.

Muggi
5 years 1 month ago

D’oh my bad, too much thinking about current prospects!

dylanp5030
5 years 1 month ago

I hear ya, they better not trade Brown for Lee or Haren…Haren could be a decent deal right now but Hamels and Haren in the same rotation scares me a bit (HR-prone in a HR-park)…but if they can base a deal around players like May, Cosart, Gose, Calvin, or even Bastardo I would think it would be a good deal.

Although, Cosart seems to be the reason that they were able to let go Drabek AND Knapp. I think Brown and Cosart are untouchables (here we go again with that word) in the RAJr.’s mind.

Muggi
5 years 1 month ago

Yeah Brown and Cosart have to be off the table…the Phils are getting too expensive, they NEED young guys to fill spots in the next couple of years.

They have two 1B prospects currently killing the ball at AA and A (Rizzotti, Singleton), but this is a new level of production for Rizzotti and Singleton still has too little history to be called a true blue-chipper.

If Amaro could convince a GM that Rizzotti is for real and make a trade while still keeping Brown, Cosart and Singleton it’d be fantastic…but that’s pie-in-the-sky.

5 years 1 month ago

Lee is going to be 32 on Aug. 30. He’s most likely going to have one final shot at a mega-contract a la CC Sabathia. No way he signs a three-year, $65 million deal. He’s going to test the market and if he’s healthy, someone will give him not only the vault, but the keys to the bank as well.

ronny9
5 years 1 month ago

Yes Cliff Lee would turn down a 3 year 65 million dollar extension offer. He will sign for 5 maybe even get an option for the 6th year. I assume his yearly value will be less than CC’s and more than Beckett/Burnett/Lackey. 5 years 105 million with a mutual option at 23 million for year 6.

He will get an offer that trumps 3 yrs 65 million by a long shot from the Yankees, Mets, Rangers *by then they wil have new ownership in place* and probably another team i’m not thinking of. So chances are he will go with free agency.

Just_MLB
5 years 1 month ago

Lee will get 3 years with a 4th year option from most teams….

yankees are crazy if they go 5 on lee..but a 1-3 of cc/lee/aj with phil as ur 4th starter is sick too…basically lee will get overpaid by around 40-50 mil ( based on the extra 2 years )

5 years 1 month ago

The crazy thing is the Mariners will get around 2 blue chip prospects. Jack Z is smart and knows Cliff lee is the hottest pitcher in game ATM

Pat_M
5 years 1 month ago

Hicks and Ramos sounds like the most the Twins could offer. Thats a pretty darn good package. Unless the Mariners are holding out for a package headlined by more of a power hitter, I’d have to say this package by the Twins should be enough to get it done.

EvilEmpireMember
5 years 1 month ago

Looks like the Twins are the frontrunners for the Yankees 2011 first round draft pick.

5 years 1 month ago

You’re right….except its going to the Mets 1st Rounder, not the Yankees….lol

diehardmets
5 years 1 month ago

I see the Mets signing Lee not the Yanks.

aap212
5 years 1 month ago

Thanks for the fair and balanced input, diehardmets.

Boz
5 years 1 month ago

please please please tell me what you see for the winning lottery numbers tonight

diehardmets
5 years 1 month ago

Ah forgot about Pettite’s likely retirement. In that case, yes, you’re right that it will probably be the Yankees.

fatjedi19
5 years 1 month ago

Looking at statistics, Hicks and Ramos is not that attractive of a package. The M’s need a MLB ready hitter, and neither of these guys seem to fit that description.

CitizenSnips
5 years 1 month ago

I agree, although I know nothing of either of these guys. What’s the ceiling on Hicks? He seems to be the Twins #1 prospect (at least on Baseball Cube) but his stats are really not that great.

TwinsVet
5 years 1 month ago

Minor league stats aren’t a very good indicator of MLB potential. Most players focus on developing skills, like spending a month trying to slap the ball to the opposite field, rather than trying to pump their OPS.

This is especially true in systems that are renown for developing MLB talent, such as Minnesota’s.

fatjedi19
5 years 1 month ago

I’ll give Hicks the benefit of the doubt, considering his level. But Ramos’ .208/4/19 in 52 AAA games is not impressive at all. I for one find potential can only take you so far, and if you’re supposed to be the man at AAA, his numbers in my opinion, just don’t cut it. Also, I think outfield is a position the M’s are pretty strong in for the future. Saunders has turned a corner this year.

wild05fan
5 years 1 month ago

Ramos is struggling big time this year, but injuries have seemed to play a major issue in that. Hicks is top notch. He has all the skills, it’s just most of it is very raw at the moment. It will probably take him another year or two before he really blossoms in the minors. The guy is a toothpick in size and hasn’t grown into his body much yet.

bringbackericthered
5 years 1 month ago

Yonder should make for a good trade center piece. He is really starting to come around in terms of power and patience at the plate. His average is rising and staying up and the ball is jumping off his bat. Seems like he is always hitting a double.

joethewest
5 years 1 month ago

Wow, I just woke up and saw Ramos AND Hicks and i almost dumped my pants. I would take these two for Lee in a second. In half a second. I’m not crazy about Ramos because we have Adam Moore, who has killed the ball in the minors, but it hasn’t shown in the big leagues yet.

These are the kind of prospects we could flip for a big league 1B

5 years 1 month ago

I’ve seen Hicks play many games this year, and while his stats aren’t great, I’m tellin you this kid is a major leaguer. However, Ramos is just not that great at all. In 3 years, he’ll be a backup catcher. If I was the Twins, I’d do this for sure. Cliff Lee is one of the surest things in baseball barring injury.

wild05fan
5 years 1 month ago

What have you seen at all that tells you Ramos will be a backup catcher in 3 years? Just because of a bad 1/2 a season? He’s been a proven hitter at every level he’s been at. The only thing that will keep him down are the injuries. Every year it seems he has something wrong with him that keeps him out for a month.

5 years 1 month ago

The main reason I say that about Ramos is because of his terribly weak walk rate. The best identifier in translating minor league stats-Majors success = plate discipline. I’m not the only one saying that either. I trust John Sickels more than anyone else, and he’s very worried about Ramos’s walk rate and overall discipline. I completely agree.

ducky66
5 years 1 month ago

You do realize that Ramos is a catcher right??? There isn’t a Molina brother that has an career OBP above .325 yet if you asked around the league and most every GM would tell you that they would have loved to have one of them on their team as a young player. His walk rate is pretty irrelavant. He’s never going to be an on-base guy (everyone should already know that). He’s going to be a very, very good defensive catcher who should develop quite a bit of pop eventually.

5 years 1 month ago

Via USS Mariner-

He was the 14th overall selection in the 2008 draft, and while he’s not close to the majors at age 20, he’s got some serious upside. He’s a switch-hitting premium athlete with five tool potential who is already showing a decent grasp of the strike zone at a young age. He’s not a polished product by any means, as he doesn’t currently possess big time power and he strikes out too much, but the natural abilities are there for him to become a star.

Via Prospect Insider-

Aaron Hicks is a beast — one of the twenty five best prospects in baseball in my opinion. Guy has one of the strongest arms in baseball, has shown good plate discipline, and the power is likely to come. Probably can play CF, but would be an upper echelon right-fielder. Getting Aaron Hicks would make me really happy — I just don’t think it’s gonna happen.

Propect insider also mentioned how in 3 of the 4 months this year he has Slugged 463, 447, 571 but in one he had a dreadful 313 slugging which tore down his slugging %

As a M’s fan I would love this but dont believe that they offered Both Ramos and Hicks to Seattle

dizzle4
5 years 1 month ago

Re: The BJ Upton-Lee three way rumor… keep in mind we heard that exact story last December when Halladay was on the market, and it got shot down.

That said, Lee makes a lot of sense for the Rays.

Rich G
5 years 1 month ago

If Cliff Lee got onto the Rays pitching staff, we would have quite the three team pitching competition in the AL East between Red Sox, Yankees, Rays.

5 years 1 month ago

Amazing deal for Seattle, if true. Aaron Hicks is a stud. Ramos on the other hand, I really don’t think he’s all that good. We’ll see. But I think MIN is overpaying a bit.

jerm11
5 years 1 month ago

Yeah, as a Twin fan, dealing Ramos AND Hicks would be the biggest mistake the Twins have made since letting David Ortiz go. One could be had, but not both. The only way that this deal could at least be swallowable is if they were allowed to sign Lee to a multi-year deal.

nick1538
5 years 1 month ago

I am not sure that letting Ortiz go was the worst call in the last few years. I would put the Young, Harris/Garza, Bartlett trade and the Santana trade ahead of that. I would also place the Mike Lamb contract and maybe even Ramon Ortiz and Livan Hernandez above that.

5 years 1 month ago

interesting. that would be a decent deal but u have to wonder who the 3rd team is. i can say that the nationals had interest in BJ Upton earlier in the year so they could, chance are not high tho, be the 3rd team. who knows tho.

BaseballFanatic0707
5 years 1 month ago

If the M’s rather take a packaged headlined by B.J. Upton over a packaged headlined by either Ramos or Hicks, Jack Z’s resignation papers should be due in the day of.

bigpat
5 years 1 month ago

I could see Kansas City getting in on Upton, I was thinking of a 3 way deal where they’d send Alex Gordon to Seattle, but I don’t see them trading away Hosmer or Moustakas because they’re way too good. Maybe they can also get Wade Davis in a deal. M’s can play Gordon at 3B and just dump Jose Lopez to anyone who asks.

I can also see a deal where they trade Aardsma and Lee to the Twins, maybe ask for Slowey or Blackburn with those two prospects and they’d have a deal. Slowey would excel in Safeco seeing that he’s an extreme flyball pitcher.

5 years 1 month ago

Gordon to Seattle would be good. So let’s say Cliff Lee goes to the Rays and BJ Upton goes to the Royals. Who plus Gordon goes back to Seattle to make it even?

Seattle would love Hosmer (Hosmer + Gordon and your IF corners are set for a while), but that does seem like too much to give up.

Here’s an interesting idea: Mariners get Alex Gordon and Kila Ka’aihue. Maybe something else, I’m not sure, but both are lefty bats and fit well in Safeco. Plus, the Mariners need a mashing 1B/DH type and a 3B, and the Royals don’t seem like they love either player. Matches with Jack Z’s apparent indication that Seattle is interested in talent close to the majors. Might need to throw in a prospect to even things out?

bigpat
5 years 1 month ago

Yeah, that seems to be the problem. The Royals hitting prospects are too good to give up for Upton, and while the M’s want major league ready bats, I’m not sure Gordon and Kila would be enough. Maybe the Rays trade Brignac or S-Rod to the M’s or Royals to make it work? Mariners- Brignac, Gordon, KilaRoyals- UptonRays- LeeI think that could work. KC could also pay Guillen’s contract and give him to Tampa if they need a DH. Not a typical Rays move to trade prospects for rentals, but with Boston’s injury problems, they really need to attack and get the wild card spot if they can’t win the division.

Rays lineup would look like this:

C- Jaso/Shoppach
1B- Pena
2B- S-Rod/Zobrist
3B- Longo
SS- Bartlett/S-Rod
LF- Crawford
CF- Jennings
RF- Zobrist/Kapler/Joyce
DH- Guillen

Not bad.

aap212
5 years 1 month ago

I wouldn’t trade Brignac and Upton for a rental.

bigpat
5 years 1 month ago

They are important pieces to give up, especially Brignac, but I see Upton as a possible non-tender candidate next year anyways. If he’s going to make 7M or so in arb, they are better off paying 5M extra and just holding onto Crawford. I don’t see the Yankees making a play for him considering how well Gardner and Swisher have been, and they invested in Granderson, but the Red Sox should be in on him.

aap212
5 years 1 month ago

Upton isn’t a non-tender candidate because you could still get something for him in trade.

5 years 1 month ago

If that works, I like it for the Mariners. 1B/DH, 3B, and SS are all areas of need and that fills them immediately.

SEA could include Aardsma. Bullpens always need improving for the stretch run. Not sure whether Aardsma would improve theirs or not, but if so, that adds some more value.

Regardless, I like this for all three teams. The Rays are clearly in a win-now mode, and this gives them a big upgrade for the playoff race. The Mariners get three good players for the 2011 roster. The Royals give up two guys they apparently aren’t sold on long-term and get a cost-controlled player for two years.

GMs should just outsource the trades to the blog community. :)

nick1538
5 years 1 month ago

How is Kevin Slowey for David Aardsma a fair deal? I think if Kevin Slowey (or even Blackburn) is included, the Twins take out Hicks. Maybe Slowey/Ramos/mid-level prospect for Lee/Aardsma.

Msforever
5 years 1 month ago

Dude. You don’t have to throw in Blackburn. Then we’d be ripping you guys off. (Sarcasm)

5 years 1 month ago

wade davis and bj upton is wayyyyy too much. wade davis was a top 10 or 15 prospect going into the year. he has been inconsistent thus far, but still has the makings of a #2 or 3 starter

CrustyJuggler
5 years 1 month ago

Where did you see that. Everything I’ve seen had Davis in the 30’s.

5 years 1 month ago

Upton to the Nationals does make sense. Nyjer Morgan has been disappointing, and Upton has been a bit of a malcontent recently.

For the hell of it, here’s a trade proposal:

Rays get: Cliff Lee
Nationals get: BJ Upton
Mariners get: SS Danny Espinosa (AA), C Derek Norris (A+)

Rays get a big upgrade in the rotation and give up an unhappy player, Nationals solidify CF and give up one player who’s blocked (Espinosa by Ian Desmond) and a C who’s far away from the big leagues, Mariners get a SS who’s ready for the majors in 2012 plus a C for the future.

Not sure whether the Rays would then need to get another CF or what. But, it seems like it could work for all three. Might be a lot to give up for the Nationals but they seem to want to make a splash.

bigpat
5 years 1 month ago

The Nats would be getting shafted in that deal, if they were to give up two top prospects, they are better off getting Lee themselves or a stud pitcher who has anothe year of control. Maybe I just hate BJ Upton, I do in fact, but I think that’s far too much to give for another enigmatic outfielder who isn’t coming cheap after this season.

One thing I could maybe see is Dunn for Upton. If the Nats don’t think they can re-sign Dunn, or don’t really want to, they can get a guy they can control next season and the Nats get a quality DH/1B to give them a huge push heading into the postseason run.

5 years 1 month ago

Oh I agree, I just see the Nats as wanting to get an immediate return. They have the hype over Strasburg to build on. You improve at the major league level and at least stay in the playoff race for a while next year, and you grow your fan base (which is sorely needed in DC – I live there). Maybe you have to tweak the deal to get more value coming back to Washington, but I think the general principle is there. The Nats are moving in a win-now direction and Upton fits in with that.

I don’t see the Nats trading Dunn. They’re going to re-sign him. Again, living in the DC area, the feeling I get is that the Nats want to put as good a team as possible on the field for 2011. They’ll overpay to keep Dunn here.

Just my opinion.

wild05fan
5 years 1 month ago

All in all to me. I would rather see a Blackburn/Slowey, Ramos, and another young arm maybe like Adrian Salcedo or the emerging Liam Hendriks go other then Ramos and Hicks both.

ghost5599
5 years 1 month ago

Yeah because Lee has proven that he is a MAJOR LEAGUE game changing kind of pitcher. The Twins would be over paying if they offer up Hicks & Ramos because they have proven….wait they have not proven anything yet. And the M’s can do better than B.J. Upton.

Gunner65
5 years 1 month ago

Hicks & Ramos is like the Reds offering up Chapman & Alonso … I’d have to pass on that deal without a 2nd thought

bustercherrie
5 years 1 month ago

Agreed. Alonso is overrated through the media and fans just like Ramos. And Hicks, just like Chapman might turn out to be a good player someday but its no guarantee. Couldn’t agree more actually.

baseball52
5 years 1 month ago

I highly doubt they’re giving up both. It’s probably a “choose your centerpiece” situation.

ghost5599
5 years 1 month ago

Well if the M’s and Twins supposedly are not close in terms of a deal maybe it’s because JackZ has doubts about the potential of either one or both of them. (Hicks/Ramos) Do either of them really look like the potential impact bat the M’s are looking for in a trade?

MLBrainmaker
5 years 1 month ago

Either one would be a haul for 3 months of Lee. Ramos is more developed, so he’d be the more interesting one for the M’s.