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.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.
In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler Austin–Greg Bird combo in 2017.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.
Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.