Friday, July 9, 2010

Going after Lee now seems like overkill

I'm sure the New York Yankees hitters are rooting hard for Brian Cashman to trade for Cliff Lee before they have to face him tonight.

There is no question that Lee is the premier pitcher on the trade block and any team would be lucky to have him. But I'm a bit surprised that the Yankees are going to trade for him now, giving up their prized catching prospect Jesus Montero, with only a guarantee of three months of service.

I could see the urgency in going after Lee if the Yankees starting pitching was weak or struggling, as it was during the championship drought between 2000 and 2009. But the Yankees have one of the best rotations in baseball and it has been, by far, the most influential factor in the team's success. Remember, this is a team that leads baseball with a 54-31 record despite an inconsistent lineup and bullpen. So going after Lee now, rather than waiting for his pending free agency, seems like overkill.

Let me be clear: I’m not arguing against Lee as a player, especially not after they way he’s pitched against the Bronx Bombers. I would have encouraged the Yanks to go after him in the offseason, particularly with Javier Vazquez’s contract expiring and Andy Pettitte on the constant verge of retirement. It’s just that giving up your best prospect for a guy you can’t be sure of signing reeks of a desperation move and the Yankees are not desperate.

Thanks to Galaksiafervojo via Wikipedia for the photo.

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