Joel Sherman reported late last night the Yankees were on the “brink of landing Cliff Lee.”
Yes, Cliff Lee. You know, the guy the Yankees were just “scouting” for everyday scouting purposes. The guy the Yankees were just watching from the sidelines to make sure they would sign him once the offseason came.
Sherman and Yankees GM Brian Cashman have proved those ideas wrong. Notes from the report (my emphasis added):
…the Yankees were on the brink of obtaining Cliff Lee late last night for a package that would include top prospect Jesus Montero…
The Mariners were strongly pursuing a catching prospect and there’s no organization filled with great ones like the Yankees. The Twins come close, but don’t have near the depth throughout the organization.
The Yanks were not assured of obtaining Lee since other clubs such as the Mets, Twins and Rangers were in talks.
But the Yanks were definitely making the strongest move last night, coming from seeming disinterest into the clear front-runner -- and last night it seemed they were all but certain to obtain the 31-year-old lefty.
This is the only part of the story that makes it seem like the deal is not a sure thing.
Cashman might now be in position to either put Phil Hughes in the bullpen to bolster that shaky area or trade a starter, possibly Javier Vazquez, for a few prospects.
The first idea sounds terrible. If Hughes is in the bullpen after this deal, then I’ve got problems. He’s having too good a year to be moved to the bullpen. He’s an All-Star starter for crying out loud.
But I really like the second part. Vazquez has been great; great enough to land the Yankees some more prospects, replenish the stock after losing Montero and others.
Overall Thoughts: I like the deal if Cashman can either make it a three-way to get rid of Vazquez, or do it in two separate deals. The Yankees have the best record in baseball without Lee. With Lee, they have their 28th World Series championship wrapped in a gift bag.