New York Yankees to Target Cliff Lee at Deadline

Ultimate Sports Talk May 18, 2014 Comments Off on New York Yankees to Target Cliff Lee at Deadline

With a need for pitching in their starting rotation, it looks as though the New York Yankees will definitely have an eye on Cliff Lee when the 2014 MLB trade deadline approaches.

Nick Cafardo of the The Boston Globe is reporting that many in baseball believe the Yanks will target Lee in order to upgrade their roster this season:

Baseball executives think they’ll have their eyes on Cliff Lee if the Phillies fall out of the race. Of course, that’s a big if.

The Yankees would have plenty of competition for Lee, perhaps even from the Red Sox, who have long coveted him, especially given his past relationship with John Farrell in the Cleveland organization. The Red Sox also have more to give than the Yankees in terms of prospects.

cliff_lee_picture-otherThe fact that the Yanks would have competition for Lee is no surprise. Any and every team in a pennant race is looking to improve its pitching. The problem there is that the Yanks don’t have the strongest farm system and it’s obvious a rebuilding team like the Philadelphia Phillies will be looking for plenty of prospects.

If the Yanks were to acquire Lee, he would come at a steep price on top of the prospects. Lee is owed $25 million in total this season and next, and he’ll be owed another $27.5 million in 2016 if his vesting option kicks in, which occurs if he throws 200 innings in 2015 or 400 innings between 2014-15.

Owner Hal Steinbrenner has said he will spend to add pitching this summer, so putting Lee on the books is a realistic option. It doesn’t come without risk, though, as Lee has broken the 200-inning mark each of the past four seasons and seems like a lock to get his vesting option for 2016 at age 37.

Cafardo also points out the Yanks would be interested in Tampa Bay Rays starter David Price, but that the American League East rival isn’t likely to deal him to a division foe. While he’s a likely target also, doubts exist about Bronson Arroyo’s stuff translating well to Yankee Stadium.

Jeff Samardzija seems to be another match, but again the Yanks will have plenty of competition for the Chicago Cubs’ 29-year-old ace, and that’s not good based on the current state of the team’s farm system.

While the rumors are already swirling in the Bronx and elsewhere, don’t expect anything to happen just yet. Teams will likely continue to wait until the trade deadline approaches at the end of July in order to get the best deal from other squads desperate to add pitching.

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