MLB Trade Deadline: Do the Yankees Dare Try for Cliff Lee One More Time?

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IJuly 22, 2012

DENVER, CO - JULY 13:  Cliff Lee #33 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches in the third inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on July 13, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

It's time for a crazy trade idea with less than 10 days left until the trade deadline.

We know the New York Yankees and their GM Brian Cashman would prefer not to make a deal between now and July 31.

But, if an opportunity presents itself to Cashman and the Yankees even he knows he would look into it.

There's been quite a few rumors going around that Cliff Lee of the Phillies could be on the block and could be traded, again.

He was traded twice at the deadline back in 2009 and 2010 in deals that shaped the Phillies and Rangers postseason hopes. With Lee, both teams reached the World Series.

With the Phillies falling slowly out of the playoff race with each loss, they have some nice trade chips on their team that they can shed.

Shane Victorino is likely to be dealt, as could Hunter Pence. Cole Hamels was rumored to be on the block, but the Phillies are working very hard to lock up their lefty before he hits free agency this winter.

Surprisingly, Lee has also been rumored to potentially be on the block as well.

Lee signed a five-year, $125 million deal with the Phillies back in December of 2010, spurning the Yankees offer to re-join the Phillies.

There's also a vesting option for a sixth year on Lee's current deal, which makes him a very expensive trade option.

There has been one team rumored to potentially being interested in Lee, the Texas Rangers. The same Rangers who beat the Yankees to the punch two summers ago, and landed the lefty on their ride to the 2010 Fall Classic.

The Yankees had a deal in place with the Mariners to land Lee, but the deal fell apart when the two teams couldn't agree on the players involved and Lee went to Texas.

After the season, many people felt that Lee would join his long-time friend CC Sabathia in the Bronx, but decided to return to the Phillies in a stunning move.

Lee thought the Phillies would have a better shot of getting to the World Series than the Yankees, but in 2012, that certainly doesn't seem to be the case.

The Phillies are in last place in the National League East and seem like they could be on the verge of a fire sale; rebuilding the team for the future.

Lee will turn 34 come the end of August, and in his current deal he has 21 teams listed for his no-trade clause. If Lee is traded, he has to approve it before Ruben Amaro, Jr. can unload Lee.

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Rangers are not one of the 21 teams on the list, and while it's not been confirmed, there's a good chance the Yankees may be on the list.

Lee's window for winning a championship is closing as he gets up in age, and the Phillies may no longer be the contender they once were when he was traded and signed with them.

But the Yankees are. So are the Rangers, who are set up to win now, and win in the future.

The one plus on trading for Lee now over signing him two years ago is his current deal is for another three seasons. If they had signed him back then, it would have been another five years they would have been tied to Lee for over $20 million.

In 2012, Lee doesn't exactly have the best record with a 1-6 record and a 3.72 ERA. Lee has run into hard luck, with the Phillies offense struggling to give him any run support.

As the Yankees head into the second half of the 2012 season, their rotation is no guarantee of success in the postseason, especially when the ALDS is only five games.

Andy Pettitte is still recovering from a fractured ankle he suffered in late June, and he's a big piece that is missing in the rotation right now.

When Pettitte got hurt,  the rumors of Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels and Wandy Rodriguez all started, but they all seem unlikely for the Bombers.

Could the Yankees dare to be bold enough to try and trade for Lee one last time?

You know Amaro will ask for top prospects like Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances in any deal that would involve Lee.

Would Lee be worth it?

The Yankees thought so two years ago when they started a deal surrounding Jesus Montero, and were close to pulling it off.

Would Cashman try again for Lee after missing out on the trade two summers ago, and then again in free agency?

In all honesty, I think it's worth it for Cashman to pick up the phone and see what Philadelphia's asking price is for the left-hander, who can be a huge difference maker in the postseason.

In the postseason, Lee has a 7-3 record with a 2.52 ERA, and the Yankees have witnessed first-hand how dominant Lee can be on the big stage.

It's the reason why they were willing to hand over Montero to Seattle, and if he leaves Philadelphia he could get one more run at a championship.

I know some of you might be hesitant on the idea of chasing after Lee again, but if the Yankees want to beat a team like the Rangers, or even the Tigers in the postseason, they need every advantage possible.

Remember, the Yankees won 97 games a year ago but saw a quick exit in the 2011 ALDS against the Tigers because their rotation didn't hold up when needed.

If that means adding more quality pitching to ensure they have a chance at a 28th World Series, then I think a trade for Lee is worth exploring.

The only question remains: would Cashman dare explore the trade for Lee one more time?

Stay tuned Yankees Universe.


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