Yankees Miss On Cliff Lee: Mariners Reportedly Pull Out Of Pending Deal

Nathaniel BallanceContributor IJuly 9, 2010

NEW YORK - JUNE 29:  Cliff Lee #36 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on June 29, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

A rumored deal that would send Mariner's star lefty Cliff Lee to the Yankees for top prospect Jesus Montero, along with infielder David Adams and pitcher Zach McAlister, is apparently off.

The Mariners have allegedly balked due to concerns over David Adams bad ankle, which he injured breaking up a double play while at Double-A Trenton about a month ago.

Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik will almost certainly move his All-Star starter. But with more than three weeks left until the trade deadline, Zduriencik will take his time to find the best offer.

It may be difficult for him to land a prospect better than the Yankees' Montero. A unanimous top five prospect at the beginning of the season, Montero has fought his way through a tough adjustment to the Triple-A level and doubts about his ability to remain at catcher long-term.

As a 20-year old, Montero is one of the youngest players at his level, so his offensive struggles can be understood. And while his defense has improved, many scouts still see him eventually moving off the position. All that said, Montero's offensive potential is worth quite a lot.

The Rangers are rumored to have intensified their pursuit of Lee, but with their financial troubles, they're in no position to add salary. Unless Seattle agrees to pay Lee's entire salary in return for more and better prospects, a deal with Texas is unlikely.

The Reds are also rumored to be going all-out to acquire Lee. But Yonder Alonso, the seventh overall pick in 2008, hasn't impressed much with the bat or glove this season and has some alarming red flags.

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Yankees GM Brian Cashman kept his negotiations with Seattle close to the chest and preferred to strike a deal quickly, while Seattle had other ideas.

Zduriencik should absolutely explore all his options for trading Lee. But if the Yankees offer was for a limited-time only, he may regret turning it down.  

With three weeks left until the trade deadline, he has plenty of time to shop around, and play one offer against another.

But the chance to acquire a top five prospect isn't something he's likely to find elsewhere.