Rumors: Odds of a Possible New York Yankees Trade Actually Happening

Anthony Maimone@@amaimone4Featured ColumnistJuly 11, 2014

In the wake of the Tanaka news, should the Yankees find his replacement?
In the wake of the Tanaka news, should the Yankees find his replacement?Jason Miller/Getty Images

The New York Yankees 2014 season was dealt a serious blow Thursday with the news that starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has a small tear in his UCL.

Tanaka will be out at least six weeks while he attempts to rehab and if that doesn't go as planned, Tommy John surgery is the next option.

The Yankees' playoff hopes were already on a bit of shaky ground with a healthy Tanaka, but they had been able to fight off a slew of injuries.

One would think this would be the final nail in the coffin on the season and the Yankees would turn to sellers at the deadline.

However, Daniel Barbarisi of The Wall Street Journal reports that general manager Brian Cashman has stated exactly the opposite.

With that in mind, it is time to tackle the biggest—and, in reality, only—real rumor involving the Yankees at the deadline.

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The ongoing trade saga involving the Philadelphia Phillies' Cliff Lee could finally come to an end this season.

The Yankees have been chasing Lee since 2010, when they believed they had a done deal with Seattle before the Mariners backed out over the health of one of the players the Yankees were giving up.

Four years later, Lee is on a different team and the Yankees are still in need of his services.

Brendan Kuty from The Star-Ledger feels that the Phillies would be likely to take less of a package to rid themselves of his contract.

The league is aware that the Yankees' only real asset is their deep pockets.

The idea of trading for Lee has two layers to it. The first is the belief that he will be helpful to the Yankees this season in making the postseason.

Chris Szagola/Associated Press

That may seem like a stretch with or without Lee now. The best-case scenario here is that Lee comes back from the DL strong and keeps the team afloat, and the Yankees hope that both Tanaka and Michael Pineda come back in August for a final push.

A rotation of Lee, Tanaka and Pineda sure seems exciting, but the reality is, as we speak, all three of those players are sitting on the DL.

The other layer of a deal for Lee the Yankees have to consider is if he can live up to the rest of his huge contract.

Lee still has two years and $50 million owed to him with a team option for a third year. Lee will be 36 in August and no longer seems like a good buy.

In fact, Wallace Matthews of thinks Lee is a "terrible idea now."

The Yankees have never shied away from a big contract in a trade, and Lee's would be no different.

The worst-case scenario is he bombs, but the Yankees have several other big contracts tied up in that same time frame. Adding one more is not as big of a deal to this team as it is to others.

The idea here is that the Yankees could get Lee in a trade that wouldn't cost them any top prospects because they would consume his contract.

If the Phillies still have a high price tag on Lee, I could see the Yankees running away from the situation quickly.

The truth is, I originally believed the Yankees should trade for Lee. I wrote about it here back in May.

However, that was prior to setbacks to both CC Sabathia and Pineda. Tanaka also didn't have any tears in his UCL then.

Now the season seems to be gone, and the Yankees would be better served selling pieces and saving that money to make a splash with one of the several big-name free-agent pitchers available next winter.

Odds: 50-1

It just seems unlikely the Yankees get Lee now. The first hurdle was always that Lee has a no-trade clause to New York and would probably use it.

The second is that he alone isn't enough to help the Yankees. Lee should be the final piece to a puzzle. With the condition of the Yankees roster, as of right now Lee would be an edge piece.