The New York Yankees are playing great right now, thanks to their stellar pitching and slugging offense.
Yet they are still two games out of first, behind the Rays who own the best record in the Majors heading into tonight, and appear to be the real deal.
Now there is no reason for concern right now with the majority of the season yet to be played and the Yankees leading the Wild Card standings.
But problems could be on the horizon for the Yanks very soon.
The Yankees best pitcher this season has been Phil Hughes and unfortunately, he has an inning limit this season which will possibly force him to miss some starts down the stretch in August and September.
And if the Bombers make the post season, then who knows what their rotation will look like? Javier Vazquez might be the fourth guy in the rotation if the Yankees don't feel that Pettitte, Sabathia, and Burnett can carry them again.
In the long term, the Yanks are probably going to lose two of their current starters after this season ends. Javier Vazquez's contract is up after this year and he will likely not be back in pinstripes in 2011. Andy Pettitte is also a free agent after the season, and might be walking off into the sunset this off season, but you never can tell for sure with Andy.
What is the solution to these potential problems?
Cliff Lee, who is a dominant left-handed starter with ace-like stuff almost every time out. He also happens to be a free agent this coming off season, but with the Mariners eight games out of first and currently sitting in last place, Lee is more than likely to be traded this season.
The Yankees fit the equation of having elite prospects and money to spare. Right now the Yanks have an overflowing amount of catching talent on the farm with Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez, and J.R. Murphy leading the way.
If Cliff Lee were to be traded to the Yankees right now, they would have the best rotation in all of baseball, and quite possibly baseball history. Lee would make up for the lost starts from Phil Hughes, and Javy could be moved into an effective long relief role and spot start form time to time.
And as all Yankee fans know, Lee has proven his greatness in the post season, dominating the Yankees in last year's World Series by going 2-0 against them and getting the Phillies their only two wins in the Fall Classic.
As mentioned before, Lee will be a free agent, so the Yankees would have to either extend his current deal during the season, or risk letting him walk into free agency. But if they could strike up a deal with him, then he would replace one of the two starters we are possibly losing this offseason.
Lee makes perfect sense for the Yankees right now and could be headed to New York at this year's trade deadline.
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