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MLB Trade Rumors: New York Yankees not ‘Hot and Heavy’ for Cliff Lee

July 22nd, 2014 at 7:04 PM
By Michael Moraitis

Trade rumors have been swirling about the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee, but apparently general manager Brian Cashman isn't too high on the 35-year-old right now.

ESPNNewYork.com's Wallace Matthews was notified by a source of the Yanks' feelings on Lee:

1. Cliff Lee came back Monday and didn't look too good. As of today, the Yankees are not hot and heavy for him, a source told ESPN New York. The Phillies are asking for a lot at this point for Lee, even though he will turn 36 at the end of August and is owed anywhere from $47.5 million to $62.5 million over the next three years.

There are a few reasons why the Yanks are down on Lee.

First off, his physical issues. Lee just returned from a 60-day disabled list stint with a strained elbow, only to return on Monday night and get rocked by the San Francisco Giants to the tune of six runs on 12 hits over 5.2 innings pitched. That one start in and of itself has lowered his value.

Lee will also cost a ton of money over the next few seasons and it's likely most of that will have to be picked up by the Yankees. On top of that, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro may also be looking for some prospects to up the price even further, as was reported by Dan Martin of the New York Post:

"The Yankees continue to proclaim they have faith in their young, inexperienced starting pitching, but that hasn’t kept them from keeping an eye on Cliff Lee. But a source with knowledge of the team’s thinking said the Yankees were “just observers” as the left-hander made his first start for the Phillies on Monday night since returning from the disabled list with a strained tendon in his elbow on May 18. According to the source, Philadelphia was still asking for too much for Lee — who turns 36 next month — and not willing to take on enough of his remaining salary. Lee is due $25 million next season and would be due a buyout of $12.5 million if a team option for $27.5 million is not picked up in 2016."

Unless Amaro is just shooting high and will lower his price as the July 31 trade deadline nears, he is dreaming if he expects to get that kind of haul. Good prospects and the team has to pick up the majority, if not all, of Lee's salary?

If that's the case, the Yanks would not be wise to pursue such a venture. It seems they may already be moving on as Cashman has reportedly been in discussions with the Chicago White Sox for John Danks.

Danks would cost about $10 million less over the next few years and while he may not be as talented as Lee when both are compared at their best, the Yanks simply can't afford to mortgage money and the brighter side of their future for a risky proposition like Lee.

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Tags: Baseball, Brian Cashman, Chicago White Sox, Cliff Lee, John Danks, MLB, New York, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies

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