What getting Cliff Lee means to the Yankees

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Off the top of my head it would mean a few things:

  • The Yankees would have too many starters: Lee, Sabathia, Pettitte, Hughes, Burnett and Vazquez. The obvious solution would be to trade Vazquez, and indeed, Buster Olney’s been beating that drum for a while.  The prospect of the Yankees not only getting the best starting pitcher this summer but also peddling a very valuable starting pitcher for even more useful parts has to be pretty sobering to the Rays and Red Sox.  Olney suggests the Phillies, who are in the market for a pitcher, but there are any number of possibilities.
  • While Lee in New York would obviously up the Yankees’ already considerable chances to repeat as World Series champions, one wonders if this move isn’t a bad thing for them long term. We’ve heard much about Jesus Montero’s stuggles behind the plate, but the fact is that he is the Yankees’ most promising hitting prospect in years.  With A-Rod, Jeter and Posada growing older, offense may be scarce sometime in the next couple of years (relatively speaking). The fact is that the Yankees could have waited until this winter to get Lee while still keeping Montero (or at least trading him for a bat) while still remaining a strong contender for the title.
  • Which gets at my beef — however limited it is — with this deal.  It’s kinda gilding the lily, ain’t it? However great a deal this is in the short term, the Yankees didn’t really need this.  That’s not their problem — the minute they stop trying to do everything within the realm of the possible to win is the minute they stop doing their job — but this does strike me as a bit excessive, with some risk, however minor, of hurting their competitive position in the long term.
  • Of course, if the Yankees trade Vazquez for a youngish
    bat or if one of their non-Montero catching prospects is gold, it might not
    matter.
  • Final thought: if the Yankees get Lee for prospects who aren’t missed and then turn Vazquez into a useful bat, doesn’t that make Brian Cashman the GM of the year?  After all: those aren’t mere money moves. Those moves —
    going back to getting Vazquez from the Braves — are all trades that (a) vastly improved the Yankees’ competitively speaking; but (b) were also trades that most any team could have
    made
    but didn’t. Lee and Vazquez werent/aren’t outrageously overpriced at the time they were acquired. Montero may be great, but he isn’t a prospect of a quality that is singular to the Yankees.

Fascinating deal in many, many ways (if it goes through).  My comments earlier this morning about there being “an uproar” don’t reflect my own personal feelings. I have questions about it, but hey, go with God, Yankees.  I’m still guessing there will be a lot of “rich get richer” disgust out there, but there’s a lot more going on here than all of that.

Tigers release Francisco Rodriguez

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Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.

The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.

While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.

The Red Sox sign Jhonny Peralta

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The Red Sox have signed third baseman Jhonny Peralta to a minor-league deal. He’ll report to Pawtucket.

Peralta, 35, hit a paltry .204/.259/.204 in 58 plate appearances for the Cardinals this year. But with Pablo Sandoval on the disabled list — and ineffective when he hasn’t been — the Sox could use some infield depth.

This is the second former Tiger that former Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has picked up today, after signing Doug Fister. No word if he’s kicking the tires on Andy Dirks or Brennan Boesch.