New York Yankees trade rumors: Cliff Lee edition

S.O.S.! Four starting pitchers down.

The New York Yankees NEED, I repeat NEED at least one GOOD pitcher to help them through the rest of the season.

Tanaka’s out, Pineda’s out, Sabathia’s out, Nova’s out. That leaves Hiroki Kuroda left of the starting five.

General manager Brian Cashman has already made two small trades, acquiring Arizona Diamondbacks’ Brandon McCarthy and Oakland Athletics’ Jeff Francis. But these guys aren’t going to be the ones to save the Yankees. They need someone big, someone who the team can depend on.

Lefty Cliff Lee from the Philadelphia Phillies, might be that guy. It is rumored that the Phillies are trying to move him. He is signed through 2015 with at least $50 million left on his contract.

But here’s why they want to move him so bad: He’s been on the disabled list since May 18th with a left elbow injury. He complained of soreness in his left elbow after an 116-pitch start against the Cincinnati Reds in May.

He’s expected to start again on Monday, July 21st, which will give him only 2 starts to show off before the July 31st trade deadline.

So why would the Yankees spend all or most of the $50 million Lee is due, to get a guy who just got off the disabled list? First off, Cashman can negotiate this, easy. The added risk to getting a guy right off the DL may lead the Phillies to lower their asking price.

There are also a lot of positive “what ifs”:

-What if Lee comes back better than before his injury?

-What if he’s the answer to the Yankees’ problems and is the new star in the rotation?

-What if he’s the best bargain Cashman could have ever made?

Then there are the negative “what ifs”:

-What if he’s worse than before his injury?

-What if the injury flares up again?

Before he went on the DL he was 4-4 with a 3.18 ERA over 10 starts. He was never a bad pitcher, always consistent and on top of the game. At the beginning of last season (2013) with the Phillies, Lee was 10-3 with a 2.86 ERA.

Honestly, I think if it’s true that the Phillies are eager to get Lee off their roster so badly, it’s because they don’t believe he will be good to go again, and that he’ll just be extra baggage for them in the future. I hope Cashman realizes that (which I’m sure he has) and doesn’t buy into it because I think it will be a waste of money and a big disappointment to get Lee.

Yeah, he was good, but we don’t know what he’ll be like now after resting an elbow injury. And who’s to say it won’t flare up again? I think that’s the most important “what if”.

The Yankees can’t afford any more injuries on their roster! This whole injury prone season has been so frustrating to coaches, players and fans, that I just don’t see why Cashman would take the risk to get Lee.

[New York Yankees: The Cashman dilemma]

Yes, the Yankees are desperate, but they aren’t stupid. At least I tell myself that to help me sleep at night. But only time will tell if Lee is going to be added to the Yankees roster.

  • Yanks Fan Forever

    Cliff Lee will not pitch for the Yankees. I have it from a very reliable source (someone that lives down the street from him) a member of the Yankees organization made a rude comment about his wife when he was being courted by them previously. He stated he would never pitch for the Yankees.

    • Disqus0011a

      I’ve heard this time and time again from fans– but never heard anything from Cliff Lee himself or any reliable source. It’s always some vague report about how a fan spit on his wife or some New Yorker called her names or some “unnamed Yankee Official” said something rude… so I have a hard time believing this is really an issue that would prevent Cliff Lee from accepting a trade.

      Keep in mind that even if it IS true, it’s been nearly five years since he chose to go to the Phillies. A lot can change in 5 years.

      David Price was once quoted as saying he’d never play for the Yankees because he’d have to cut his beard, but just recently he said he would. These sorts of things are usually always overblown because it makes it easier for fans to accept why a player would choose another team.

  • Rocky Solido

    Yankees do need another starter, although their starters have actually been very good as of late, there’s only 4 of them. Cliff Lee could be worth the risk, as he’s always been an elite level pitcher. He still as an ERA in the low 3’s, that’s very good. Not sure if I would risk 50-mil for a 35-yr-old who’s coming off the DL though. Bartolo Colon is available and probably for much cheaper. Colon is 41, but has been durable and just last season he was 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA.
    Considering the Yankees starters have actually done very well lately, I think I’d just go with Colon and then they’d have 5 really solid pitchers.

  • moocow007

    Or…

    Cashman can finally realize that no team is letting their top line starters or position players head into free agency in their prime anymore and…instead of repeating the same failed formula of over paying for guys on the wrong side of 30 way longer than they should that they should…instead…just suck it up, admit to themselves that they are beyond the cross roads (not “at the cross roads”) and need to rebuild. But they won’t cause they need to get the masses into the stands at Yankee stadium.

    As such, I expect plenty more of Cliff Lee types in the Yankees future as they continue their journey through baseball limbo…not good enough to win a world series, not bad enough to be able to draft anyone that can get you out of that limbo. Overpaying for a shot at staying in the hunt but never bagging a thing.

  • sam b

    from what I recall last was that Cliff Lee was a Yankee hater and had an opportunity to join the Yankees and chose Philly instead. Bad move if NY signs him.