As we mentioned not so long ago, the New York Yankees are one of the many teams looking to acquire the services of Cliff Lee. SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports that the pinstripes gave the Indians another call, but were not willing to pay the price for the reigning Cy Young winner.
The Yankees called the Indians about pitching star Cliff Lee, but the chances for a deal turned south when the Indians told them one of two fine young Yankees starters — Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes — would have to start the package. The Yankees are not inclined to do that for Lee.
While Lee’s value is enhanced by a reasonable $9 million club option for next year, the Yankees appear to like Chamberlain and Hughes too much to consider that deal. If Roy Halladay were to become available to the Yankees, they’d more seriously consider such a request. But not for Lee.
I threw Hughes’ name out there last time around, but I’m not sure that I would be all too pleased if he was the main chip in any trade that involved Cliff Lee. Joba Chamberlain may be a different story; we all know he already has a history with The Jake/Progressive/Regressive Field.
It’s been quoted everywhere that the asking price for Lee – a relatively inexpensive arm, under contract through 2010 – was a starting pitcher that can contribute right away, or at minimum a can’t-miss prospect a la Tommy Hanson. If the Indians are going to move their only quality starter, the only way that it would be justified would be quality coming back the other way. This isn’t Minnesota trading Johan Santana for Carlos Gomez and a bag of balls. The Yankees had to know this while dialing.
Heyman concludes with the teams that appear to still be in the hunt for Lee: Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and L.A. I have a feeling that once one of the abovementioned teams lands Roy Hallday (I’m guessing Philadelphia), the price that the others are willing to pay will increase as the others become a little more desperate to add an arm – especially one that is as high quality as Clifton Lee.