The Mariners are scouting the Yankees: Cliff Lee trade, anyone?

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Thumbnail image for Cliff Lee M's throwing.jpgGeorge A. King of the New York Post reports that the Mariners are kinda sorta thinking about trading Cliff Lee to the Yankees.  The “kinda sorta” is because there’s no sense that the Yankees are at all interested in Lee. According to King, however, the Mariners are currently scouting the Yankees organization and are interested in shortstop Eduardo Nunez and either prospect catcher Austin Romine or Jesus Montero, no doubt on the assumption that the Yankees will get interested once the M’s start dangling Lee.

Makes sense for the Mariners to at least be prepared in the event the Yankees realize that they can get one of the best pitchers in baseball to help them fight the Rays for the division and, assuming a long-term deal gets done, help anchor the rotation for the next several years.

Given his reasonable price tag, of course, there may be a lot of teams interested in renting Lee for the playoff stretch. The M’s would be wise, however, to try and find a partner who could negotiate with Lee on a long term deal, thus bringing back some real value in exchange for their failed experiment at contending.

Braves release Jose Bautista

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The Braves released veteran infielder/outfielder Jose Bautista on Sunday, per a team announcement. Right-hander Lucas Sims was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett in a corresponding move.

Bautista, 37, was recruited by the Braves in mid-April as a potential third base option. He inked a minor league deal with the club and lasted just 12 games in the majors, during which he batted a meager .143/.250/.343 with three extra-base hits and a .593 OPS across 40 plate appearances. While he isn’t too far removed from his last productive season in the big leagues — he collected 40 home runs, a .250 average and 5.3 fWAR with the Blue Jays in 2015 — his power has been noticeably declining over the last three years, and it’s clear the Braves don’t have enough time or opportunity to wait for him to get his groove back.

Without Bautista, Johan Camargo is expected to handle the hot corner on a daily basis. The 24-year-old infielder is working through his sophomore season at the major league level and entered Sunday’s game batting .226/.368/.403 with six extra bases and a .772 OPS in 76 PA. General manager Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged that top infield prospect Austin Riley could also get a shot at playing third base sometime in 2018, though the club has no current plans to promote him from Triple-A at the moment.