MLB Trade Rumors: Can the Mets Offer a Better Deal for Cliff Lee?

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MLB Trade Rumors: Can the Mets Offer a Better Deal for Cliff Lee?
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I wrote a piece on Wednesday night about how the Seattle Mariners traded Cliff Lee to the Minnesota Twins for Minor League catcher Wilson Ramos, left-handed pitcher Brian Duensing, and a low-level minor league outfielder.

The trade disintegrated when Ramos got hurt last Saturday playing for Triple-A Rochester.

Once Ramos returns to active duty (he is day-to-day with a strained oblique), the trade will be consummated like a new bride on her wedding night.

It's no coincidence the Twins pitched Duensing for 3.1 innings last night in relief of very ineffective Twins' starter Nick Blackburn. It was 3.1 scoreless innings of relief; the lefty allowed three hits, while striking out three Milwaukee Brewers' hitters.

In the minds of the Mariners, it basically cements the deal for Lee, as they will get their catcher and left-handed starting pitcher, two positions they indicated they must have in any trade for Lee.

However, an obstacle now comes in the form of the New York Mets. With the Philadelphia Phillies floundering and the Mets only a half-game behind the division-leading Atlanta Braves, the Mets believe they have a real shot of winning the NL East this season.

Renting Cliff Lee will not only help them achieve that goal, but when combined with a healthy return of outfielder Carlos Beltran, Lee could help them get to a World Series.

Never forget, Omar Minaya will strip an entire franchise's farm system for one pitcher he feels can put them over the top. He already did it in 2002 when he was GM of the Montreal Expos.

Back then he TRADED Cliff Lee as part of a package of young players for right-handed pitcher Bartolo Colon.

The Mariners could get greedy and, by using the Mets as leverage, try to wrestle more away from the Twins.

But oftentimes the greedy get what they deserve, and that's usually something not nearly as good as what they already had in the pocket.

Why would the Mariners trade with the Mets anyway? The Mets have nothing the Mariners need; the Mariners are looking for a young catcher with the potential to start right away.

Ramos fits that bill. But is that why the Mets brought up catcher Josh Thole the other day, to show him off in the big leagues? The Mariners will have a few scouts in town this weekend scouting the Twins (and now the Mets?) and can get a look at Thole, too. The Mariners will also be in town next week when they play the Yankees.

But while Thole has rebounded well from a horrible April, he is very young defensively behind the plate and does not hit for much power (10 career HR's in 3+ Minor League seasons).

The Mariners also want a left-handed starting pitcher.

While Duensing is not a complete youngster (he is 27), he does have good Major League experience and can step right into Lee's spot in the rotation—maybe throwing to Ramos. The Mets only have Jonathon Niese as a starting left-handed pitcher, and with his pretty good season thus far in 2010, it does not look like he's going anywhere.

The Mets do have other prospects they would give up for their rental, including a package built around prospects like Ruben Tejada , Fernando Martinez , Wilmer Flores , and Jeurys Familia .

Although these players are good, none are what the Mariners are seeking, making the Twins' deal more appealing for the Mariners.

But then again, if the Mets gave them ALL of those prospects, then you might have a deal.

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