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.

Cardinals place Dexter Fowler on the disabled list

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The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that outfielder Dexter Fowler has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left forearm. Outfielder Harrison Bader was recalled from Triple-A Memphis to take Fowler’s spot on the roster.

It’s not clear when Fowler suffered the injury, but he went 0-for-12 since a three-hit performance last Friday. He’s hitting .241/.333/.452 with 14 home runs and 37 RBI in 333 plate appearances this season.

Bader, 23, is the Cardinals’ No. 6 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. This season, with Memphis, Bader hit .297/.354/.517 with 19 home runs and 48 RBI in 381 PA.

Dodgers, Cubs could be interested in Justin Verlander

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.

The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.

Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.

We wait see.