June 9, 2010

GAKIII: Cliff Lee and Lance Berkman possible trade targets for Yankees

The Mariners are heavily scouting the Yankees organization for when they shop starter Cliff Lee this trade deadline and the Yankees are scouting Astros slugger Lance Berkman, George A. King III of the New York Post reports.

“[The Mariners] want one of the catchers and (Eduardo) Nunez,” a person familiar with Seattle’s thought process if they deal with the Yankees.

OK, that’s not even a Seattle official King is citing. Still, if it’s true that would be a pretty reasonable asking price as long as Lee agreed to an extension with the Yankees.

The only problem with that is the Yankees don’t have a gaping hole in their rotation right now. The only starter who isn’t pitching well of late is their supposed ace, CC Sabathia. When the season’s over, going after Lee seems like a no-brainer with Andy Pettitte and Javier Vazquez’s expiring contracts. Now, I don’t see where he fits with the Yankees.

UPDATE: A Yankees official has confirmed the team is not going after Lee this trade deadline, Mark Feinsand reports. (This is a lot more reliable reporting than GAKIII’s.)

As for Berkman, I really don’t see that deal working out either. For one, Berkman is seen as the Astros’ franchise player. I have a problem with breaking that 12-year bond, and I’m pretty sure Houston fans share my view. Secondly, Berkman’s numbers are on the decline and he’s overpaid. Not exactly an ideal trade target.

The Yankees needs outlined by Jon Heyman late last month make a lot more sense to me than King’s. The top needs are bullpen help and a bat to replace Nick Johnson.

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