The Mets will be in on Seattle ace Cliff Lee – that appears certain. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Omar Minaya has notified Jack Zduriencik of his interest, and the Mets are scouting Lee's starts.
Contrary to a Kevin Burkhardt report last night, Sherman says the Mets "would not need a negotiating window to sign Lee long-term even if it includes top prospect Jenrry Mejia in a package." However, between the injuries to potential trade chips Mejia and Angel Pagan and the ownership approval needed to pull the trigger, Minaya faces hurdles in acquiring Lee.
Sherman writes "the Mets have little interest" in Roy Oswalt and Fausto Carmona. Instead, Cubs southpaw Ted Lilly might head up their list of Lee alternatives. Lilly has been excellent since signing a four-year, $40MM deal with the Cubs in December of '06. The contract has about $6.4MM remaining. Though Lilly profiles as a Type A free agent after the season, an arbitration offer is in question. I doubt Lilly's limited no-trade provision will be an obstacle, as he's probably eager to return to the playoffs. The Cubs have about a month to decide whether to cash in their chips, and Lilly is their best one.