Cliff Lee is finally back on the hill for Seattle, but the Mariners are struggling to find an identity and are sputtering around the bottom of the American League West.
Thought to be the front-runner in the division before the season, the Mariners lost Cliff Lee during Spring Training to injury, and newly acquired infielder Chone Figgins has been an offensive letdown. Now the Mariners are looking for bats to stifle their offensive woes by dealing their ace.
Lee seems to be a better fit on the Dodgers' roster. Clayton Kershaw is currently the only lefty Dodger starter, and Lee would provide a different look for opposing hitters. Additionally, a trend has formed in Major League Baseball for pitchers who switch leagues mid-season.
C.C. Sabathia, Cliff Lee and Vicente Padilla are shining examples of veteran pitchers that experience renewal when crossing the line to the other side. Teams may have out-of-date scouting reports or several players that have never faced that pitcher, or both.
If Lee were to find his way to Chavez Ravine via trade, it is likely he would experience the same success he had as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies on their way to a World Series appearance.
The veteran lefty's numbers are in the same ballpark (pun intended) as Oswalt's. Lee has a respectable career ERA of 3.96, and is 92-54 in 195 career starts. Lee is also a year younger than Oswalt, and is still considered to be in the prime of his career.
For Philadelphia last season Lee finished 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA and was a vital piece to the Phillies playoff run, providing one quality start after another under pressure situations.
The way Lee handled clutch situations, coupled with his low salary requirements makes him more appealing to the Dodgers. Lee is currently in the final year of his contract, and the Dodgers would only be required to pay him $4.5 million for this season. The team would have a good chance of re-signing him for 2011 given a large portion of their salary would be freed up with the departure of Manny Ramirez.
Lee's quiet confidence would be a good balance in the Dodgers' clubhouse as well. The Boys in Blue certainly don't need another personality, as the roster is loaded with its own Hollywood celebrities.
With that in mind, it is my opinion that Lee is the more likely mid-season Dodger addition, provided the Mariners continue to struggle and the Dodgers continue to require pitching help.
Dodgers fans, have patience: This trade is still far from fruition, but let the water cooler discussions and fantasy dreams begin.