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.

Report: Mets sign Wilson Ramos to two-year, $19 million deal

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The Mets have signed catcher Wilson Ramos to a two-year deal, SNY’s Andy Martino reports. The total value of the contract is $19 million, per Fancred’s Jon Heyman.

Ramos, 31, split last season between the Rays and Phillies, putting up one of the best offensive seasons among catchers. In 416 total plate appearances, he hit .306/.358/.487 with 15 home runs and 70 RBI.

Ramos will presumably get the lion’s share of plate appearances behind the plate with Travis d'Arnaud backing him up. Grandal was made a qualifying offer, so the Mets would have had to forfeit a draft pick to sign him. And, of course, Realmuto would have cost prospects. Ramos simply costs money.

The Mets were aggressively pursuing a catching upgrade, having been involved in rumors surrounding J.T. Realmuto and Yasmani Grandal, but ultimately settled on Ramos. New GM Brodie Van Wagenen has made a significant impact on the team already, having also added second baseman Robinson Canó and closer Edwin Díaz from a trade with the Mariners.