The Twins have been linked to Mariners left-hander Cliff Lee quite often in early trade speculation. Various reports have even labeled the Twins as a front-runner for the ace pitcher.
Twins general manager Bill Smith and other team officials have said they
will not comment on whether the team is in discussions for
Lee. Still indications are that the two clubs have been talking about a
possible swap for Lee, although there
appears to be nothing imminent in terms of a deal.
One report on Monday night said that the Twins had offered two of their top prospects — outfielder Aaron Hicks and catcher Wilson Ramos — for Lee. That seems like much more than the Twins would be willing to offer for a short-term rental. Lee, who is making $8 million this season, will be a free agent at the end of this year and he is expected to draw a big payday as one of the marquee players available.
Ramos certainly appears to be the prospect that the Mariners could be most interested in, since they don’t have a Major League catcher. And with Joe Mauer having signed an eight-year, $184 million contract extension that begins next season, the Twins could move Ramos if they feel it’s for the right piece.
— Kelly Thesier
The Twins, according to the Twitter account of AOL FanHouse’s Jeff Fletcher, have offered Minor League outfielder Aaron Hicks and Minor League catcher Wilson Ramos in exchange for Cliff Lee. Hicks and Ramos were ranked by Baseball America as the No. 1 and No. 2 prospects in the Twins’ system, respectively, heading into the season. No deal is imminent, however, according to FOXSports.com and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. But the revealing of names means things may be progressing.
Lee, who has a 2.34 ERA, a 0.945 WHIP and a 14.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio, is also drawing interest from the Reds, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The newspaper reported that the Reds and Mariners talked about Lee when the Reds were in Seattle a couple of weeks ago. The Mariners want an impact bat for Lee, and Reds prospect Yonder Alonso could provide that in exchange, but Seattle is probably looking for more, the Enquirer wrote. Alonso is currently blocked by Joey Votto.
The Twins and Reds, of course, are not the only ones who’d be interested in adding a top-flight left-handed starter with big-game experience and a rather affordable pro-rated price tag. According to SI.com — which said talks between the Twins and Mariners for Lee are “interesting” and “have possibilities” — close to 15 teams are believed to be looking towards adding Lee.
Here’s more from around the league …
* Peter Gammons of MLB Network and MLB.com wrote via Twitter on Tuesday that “rumblings” around St. Petersburg had B.J. Upton going to Seattle in exchange for Lee — perhaps as part of a three-team deal. Whether or not that materializes, the Rays may be willing to trade their right-handed-hitting center fielder regardless. The Red Sox, Giants, Braves and several other teams could be a fit.
* The Orioles and Buck Showalter
have had “continuing conversations” regarding the managerial vacancy, which means the two sides may be closing in on an agreement, according to ESPN.com. FOXSports.com wrote Friday night that the O’s are “zeroing in” on Showalter. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli heard through a source that the O’s are interested in adding Showalter
, and Eric Wedge
is believed to be the other leading candidate.
* The 10-5 rights of Mark Buehrle have kicked in, meaning the White Sox left-hander essentially has a full no-trade clause now, according to MLBTradeRumors.com. Ten-year veterans who have been with an organization for five years earn the right to veto a trade, even if they don’t have a no-trade clause in their contract.
* The Red Sox have not approached Victor Martinez about an extension, according to The Boston Globe. Martinez, currently on the disabled list, is a free agent after this season but has said he’d like to stay in Boston.
— Alden Gonzalez