New York Yankees: Not Getting Cliff Lee Could Be Great Non-Trade for Team

Bronx Baseball DailySenior Analyst ISeptember 9, 2010

The first week of July the New York Yankees nearly landed Cliff Lee in a deal with the Mariners in exchange for a package surrounding top prospect Jesus Montero.

The Yankees were aggressive in trying to land Lee because despite the fact that they had five starting pitchers, a few of them were question marks and they thought adding Lee would have settled some of those questions.

Two months later, Montero had an amazing finish in the minor leagues, and Lee is a huge question mark for the Texas Rangers heading into the playoffs.

Montero hit .342 with a 1.072 OPS and five home runs during the month of July, .330 with a .985 OPS, and seven home runs in August, and a .370 average, a 1.222 OPS, and three home runs in just six games in September.

There are still questions surrounding Montero’s defense, but at this point he looks like he’ll be an extremely solid offensive major league player.

Lee has been on the exact opposite track.

He has pitched in 11 games since joining the Rangers with a 2-5 record and a 4.69 ERA. The team’s record during his starts, 3-8. He’s also missed one start and is questionable going forward.

Now all of this could change if Lee rights himself and pitches well in the playoffs.

And if he had been traded to the Yankees and contributed in a big way to them winning the World Series than the trade could have been worth it, but that is far from guaranteed right now.

Lee has pitched very poorly against possible playoff opponents like the Yankees, Rays, and Twins, allowing at least four earned runs in each start and only making it out of the seventh once.

Some scouts and front office executives have called Montero’s bat generational, as in he could end up being very good.

It sure wouldn’t have been worth it to trade him away for yet another question mark in the starting rotation. That non-trade could be the best thing that has happened to the Yankees since last October.

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