Around The Web: Cliff Lee

According to Matt Cerrone of  MetsBlog.com the Mets and Mariners have been in discussions about a possible trade for Cliff Lee.  Matt’s sources tell him “Omar Minaya hasthe necessary prospects to get Lee”  but Seattle is “insisting on Niese and Minaya will not budge.”  This breaking news, much like that of Roy Oswalt, has caused quite a buzz around the Blogosphere.  Here at Metszilla.com we have taken a look ‘Around the Web’ to see what others are saying about the possible acquisition of Lee and offered our take on such a scenario.

In a post at Mr.MetsDaily.com, “Mets and Mariners Discussing Cliff Lee”, (click HERE for full article) Robert Knapel had this to say about what he believes adding Cliff Lee would do for the Mets:

This would significantly increase their chances of making the playoffs. If the Mets did make the playoffs, then having Lee would make them the team to beat. Having a top three of Santana, Lee, and Pelfrey would be devastating for opponents in the playoffs. It could very easily be the best top three in the majors.

If Lee will only cost Niese and and one more major league ready prospect, the Mets should jump on the deal right now. Lee will instantly make the team a legitimate World Series contender.”

In a post to NYBaseballDigest.com, “Just Say No to Niese for Lee” (click HERE for full article), Howard Megdal gives his insight to why he believes trading  Jonathan Niese in a deal for Lee is not a smart move for the future of the Mets when he wrote this:

NEW YORK - MAY 08:  Jonathan Niese #49 of the ...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Moving beyond 2010, it is easy to look at Lee’s record since 2008 and be impressed. In 523 2/3 innings, he has posted a 2.89 ERA, with just 1.5 walks per nine innings and 7.1 strikeouts per nine. But it is easy to forget: that happened already. The Mets aren’t trading for Lee’s age 29, 30 and the first half of his age-31 seasons. They’d be getting, should they sign him long-term, ages 32 and beyond. And if he keeps pitching like this, it won’t be a 3-4 year deal, either- he’s going to want 5-6 years or more to keep him off of the free agent market. Meanwhile, the Mets would be dealing Niese during his age-23 season, one of enormous promise. In essence, they’d be dealing Niese’s 24-28 seasons away for Lee’s 32-38 seasons, along with a huge difference in salary.”

In a video post at OnTheBlack.com, (if you have never visited On the Black I recommend you do so by clicking  HERE) Kerel Copper answers the following question:

If you were GM, would you rather trade Reese Havens, Josh Thole, and Jon Niese for Cliff Lee, and risk not being able to resign Lee, or sign Pedro Martinez to a 1 year contract based on incentives?

The Zilla Take- Whats not to like about Cliff Lee?  In 2008, he was a ridiculous 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA earning himself  the AL Cy Young Award. Last October he proved to the baseball world that he is capable of pitching on the “big stage.”  During the Phillies playoff run, he went 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA  and had both the Phillies wins in the World Series. This season through 68 2/3 IP Lee has, amazingly, only walked 4 batters (yes you read that right) and currently has a 15.0 k/bb ratio. So yes it excites me to hear the Mets are pursuing Cliff Lee, and I would love for them to be able to trade for him…. just not at the expense of Jonathan Niese.  Simply put, I don’t think anyone could have said it better than Howard Megdal did on NYBaseballDigest.com.

NEW YORK - JULY 15:  (FILE) American League Al...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

I applaud Omar Minaya for “not budging” on a Lee deal that involves Niese.  He clearly realizes that trading a 23 year old starter (with a bright future and low salary) is not in the clubs best long term interest. Especially in a deal  for a potential ‘rent-a-player’, which Lee is likely to be.  It’s become somewhat common place to sing Omar’s praises over the team’s last 22 games (17-5), but this instance is perhaps his most deserved.  New York is a ‘win now’ city and Minaya has been on the hot seat since day 1, with temperatures reaching Jupiter levels earlier this year.  Still, while it would likely help the Mets immediate plans and be somewhat self serving for Omar to go get Lee now and not worry about how things shake out a few years, when the career path of both he and Jon Niese potentially go in different directions, he refuses to budge and you have to respect his foresight.

Though I would still be hesitant to make the move, I believe the only way the team should even consider dealing Niese in a package for Lee is under the same parameters that they were able to acquire Johan Santana, whereby New York was given a 48-hour window to sign the pitcher to a contract extension.  Hopefully Omar will stand his ground and not give in to Seattle’s high demands. With the Mets playing well and a feeling that team chemistry is at an all time high, I don’t believe he will feel any pressure from the media or fans to do so. Omar must realize that as the trade deadline approaches Lee’s value should drop like BP shares on the stock market. Hopefully this, in turn, would make him attainable for a price tag lower than the likes Jonathan Niese.  However, as Matt Cerrone points out:

most people feel Seattle must move him and so the price will come down as the deadline gets closer… of course, some team can always jump, overpay and get him today, like the Twins, who are also said to have interest…”

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DENVER - JULY 05:  Starting pitcher Dan Haren ...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

*NOTE- A name who has not been linked to the Mets (just yet) but someone who I would like to see the Mets go after is Dan Haren.  He is, in my opinion, a top of the line starter and still has 1 more year left on his contract ($44.75m 4 year extension signed in 2008).  Haren could come at a “cheaper” price than Oswalt or Lee.  I asked Steve Gilbert , who covers the D’Backs on MLB.com, if Dan Haren would soon be on the trade block.  Steve responded by saying he believes “everyone on the Major League roster besides Upton would be available.”  Hey, it’s nice to dream!

Feel Free to Follow me on Twitter at vcMETSFAN28

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