Friday, June 18, 2010

Twins Blog-Making a run at Cliff Lee?

In the past few weeks most baseball insiders have been speculating as to where Seattle LHP Cliff Lee will end up prior to the July 31st trade deadline. With Seattle's nose dive in recent weeks, it has become no surprise that they will shop around the former Cy Young award winner. Those same insiders believe the Minnesota Twins are the most likely team to land Lee. Given the depth of the Twins farm system matching up with some of Seattle's immediate needs, a deal could easily be made. A likely package to offer Seattle would consist of C Wilson Ramos, either SP Scott Baker or SP Kevin Slowey, and another mid level pitching prospect. The Twins have great depth in their farm system, but do they use some of that depth to acquire a pitcher that would just be a "rental" player? Lee is a free agent this winter and would be recieving offers from the Yankees, Mets, and Red Sox upon hitting the market, so any team that trades for him would only have him for the remainder of 2010, thus the "rental" tag. The most pressing issue for the Twins right now is the lack of an ace pitcher. Their starters, minus Liriano, have lacked serious consistency. They have a couple stellar outings followed by a couple of awful outings. And the inconsistency has shown when they have played playoff caliber teams (Yankees, Red Sox, Braves). And more than likely the Twins would run into the Yankees in October again should they get that far, and last I checked, the Twins can't solve the Yankees. And if you need reminding, look at the 2009 World Series and you will see Cliff Lee as the winning pitcher in Philadelphia's only two wins in that series. So Lee fills the "We can't run with the Yankees" void. Bringing Lee to Minnesota has alot of upside. He would make the Twins not just Central contenders but World Series contenders. But when push comes to shove, no, I can't see GM Bill Smith pulling the trigger on a deal like this. You can put your money on the Twins making a deal for a relief pitcher more than making a deal for Lee. And with free agency looming this winter for Lee, it makes it all the more easy to just say no. Even if they got Lee, the Twins would have a one in five chance of keeping him here past 2010. He would demand a contract around 15-20 million dollars per year. No one would be so sure Smith makes a trade period. Last year it took the Twins All Stars to convince him that they needed to trade for SS Orlando Cabrera. So one has to wonder what it would take to convince him they need Cliff Lee. Smith just doesn't give in to the big deals. But he has to see what we all see and that is a rotation without a leader and consistency. And teams that have rotations like that take a quick exit from postseason baseball. So, it's all on Smith now. Does he get Lee and push the Twins towards the top or does he settle for mediocrity pitching and take another ALDS sweep? The time is ticking. And he has 6 weeks and counting to decide.

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