As of June 23, 2010, the Seattle Mariners are trailing the Texas Rangers by 13 games in the AL West division.
All signs point towards the Mariners trading Lee by the deadline in order to get prospects in return for the former Cy Young Award winner, because when the 2010 season is over, Lee will demand a major contract when he becomes a Type-A free agent.
And, most likely, Lee will not be returning to the Mariners next season.
Currently, his 2010 salary is $9 million, which for a pitcher of Lee's quality, is an extremely reasonable contract.
Any team that acquires Lee would be acquiring a lefty that is still at the top of his game, but Lee and the Mariners will not be parting ways by the trade deadline.
They have won five games in a row, and although they rank 11th in the majors in ERA (3.92), and 27th overall in strikeouts (433), the combination of Felix Hernandez and Lee are starting to form the lethal duo that everyone thought they'd be when the season began.
There's still plenty of time left for the Mariners to make up room in the division and the wild card. They certainly have the pitching to do it.
If the Mariners finish the season and pitcher Jason Vargas, who is 6-2 with a 2.66 ERA, leads the team in wins, the Mariners will not make the playoffs.
But my gut tells me that's not going to happen. Let's see how the next six weeks turn out, and don't be surprised if you see the Mariners move up a few spots in the division.
It's simply a matter of time until it happens.