Mariners could trade Cliff Lee sooner than you think

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Two executives from clubs that have inquired about Cliff Lee tell Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com that the Mariners are willing to move the left-hander “immediately” for the right offer.

This particular piece of information didn’t grab me right away either, because I would think any team should be willing to do that, but Rosenthal adds that one executive predicts the Mariners will move Lee “in 7 to 10 days, following a timetable similar to the one the Indians used when they traded left-hander CC Sabathia to the Brewers on July 7, 2008.”

The logic is simple. Trading him now could maximize his return, save a larger portion of his remaining $9 million salary and avoid the risk of Lee suffering an injury that could diminish his trade value.

Rosenthal reports that the Mets, Dodgers and Rangers have inquired about Lee, while the Twins are viewed as the front-runner and the Yankees are more likely to pursue him in free agency.

We’ll obviously know pretty quickly if there’s anything to Rosenthal’s sources, but anytime he does a story about Lee, my ears perk up. Remember, he was the one who floated that “three-way trade” rumor involving Lee last December, even though it was presented as a hypothetical.

Report: Brewers have made formal contract offer to Yu Darvish

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Yahoo Japan reported on Sunday (Monday there) that the Brewers have made a formal contract offer to free agent pitcher Yu Darvish. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has confirmed Yahoo Japan’s report. The length of the offered contract and the value are not known at the moment.

Darvish recently said on his personal Twitter account that the Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Astros, Twins, and “one more team” have been in the running for his services. The unnamed team was believed to be the Dodgers, but it may well be the Brewers.

The Brewers could certainly use Darvish’s arm. Chase Anderson and Zach Davies currently lead the starting rotation and the club added Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo this offseason.

Darvish, 31, posted a 3.86 ERA with a 209/58 K/BB ratio in 186 2/3 innings between the Rangers and Dodgers in the regular season last year. He faltered in the playoffs, specifically in the World Series, where he gave up nine runs in 3 1/3 innings across two starts. Darvish was apparently tipping his pitches, however, which is a correctable issue.