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.

Brewers to give Mike Moustakas a look at second base

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The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.

The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.

This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.

Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.