Cliff Lee throws complete game as Mets and Twins reportedly emerge as trade talk 'frontrunners'

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Cliff Lee was brilliant again last night as rumors continue to swirl about his time in Seattle winding down, holding the Cubs to one run in a complete-game victory that lowered his ERA to a league-best 2.39.
Lee missed most of April, yet leads the league with four complete games (including two shutouts) and has an absolutely ridiculous 76/4 K/BB ratio in 87 innings. To put that into some context Bret Saberhagen holds the all-time record with 11.0 strikeouts per walk in 1994 and no other pitcher in baseball history who qualified for the ERA title ever had 10 strikeouts per walk.
Right now Lee has 19.0 strikeouts per walk.
Obviously the Mariners didn’t plan on being 30-41 and all but out of the playoff picture in June, but the good news is that Lee has maintained his full trade value and then some. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that the Mets and Twins are the front-runners for Lee at this point, speculating that Minnesota has the potential edge in the form of Wilson Ramos because Seattle wants a good catching prospect.
Baker notes that Ramos “could make a centerpiece to a deal along with a mid-to-back-end starting pitcher” that would presumably be Scott Baker or Kevin Slowey. He also wonders if the Mets could trump that by offering Jenrry Mejia and Angel Pagan. Of course, a report out of New York yesterday said the Mets were unlikely to deal Mejia.

Rob Manfred says Tampa Bay must pick up pace on new stadium

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wants Tampa Bay to work a little quicker on getting the Rays a new ballpark.

Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg has been working for nearly a decade to get a new stadium for the club and signed a three-year agreement with the City of St. Petersburg early in 2016 to search for a site in the Tampa Bay area. Manfred wants that search to pick up some steam.

“I think it’s fair to say we want the process to take on a better pace moving forward,” Manfred said Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays since their first season in 1998.

The Rays were averaging 15,815 fans per game before Wednesday night’s contest against the Toronto Blue Jays. That is just over half the major league average of 30,470. Tropicana Field and its location have been almost universally blamed as the reason for the poor attendance.

“I’ve been pretty clear that they need a new facility here, a major league quality facility in an A-plus location,” Manfred said. “It is time to move that decision to the front burner here in Tampa.”

The matter of how a stadium would be financed has been tabled until a site is determined, but Sternberg continued to express confidence in the Tampa Bay market.

“I’ve had the opportunity to bail on it many times over the years,” he said. “I won’t say this is a slam dunk, it’s certainly not. But I think we can do something that’ll at least double our attendance. That’s a lot to ask for.”

Manfred said Major League Baseball “doesn’t have a firm timetable” for what steps to take if the Rays fail to get an agreement to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, but but added that “it is a topic of discussion in the industry, the lack of progress.”

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Robinson Cano leaves game with hamstring tightness

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Bad news for the Mariners this evening: Robinson Cano left Seattle’s game against the Atlanta Braves with tightness in his left hamstring.

Cano walked off the field after legging out a double — his second of the game — in the third inning. He pulled up as he approached second base and walked off the field, accompanied by a trainer. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. The Mariners have a day off Thursday before opening a series at the Yankees on Friday night, so they have some time to evaluate him.

Cano is hitting .277/.377/.460 with 19 homers and 78 RBI on the year.