1:00 Update: Should have waited 45 minutes on this. Sounds like the deal might be off, which could just be negotiations or could mean another team made a really huge offer. I guess we’ll see.
I planned to write a post about the various Cliff Lee rumors today before leaving on vacation tonight, but it looks like that won’t be necessary. Barring the deal falling apart at what sounds like the last minute, Cliff Lee will be a Yankee by the end of the day. He’ll be dealt or the deal will be off before he makes his start tonight, which means he’ll likely never play another game in a Mariners uniform.
If the rumored deal is correct, the Mariners will get a haul, mostly in the form of one Jesus Montero. He’s a catcher who will likely end up a 1B or DH, but his power bat is maybe the best in the minors. He struggled to start the year as a 20-year-old at AAA, but has turned it around in the last few weeks. Being 20 in AAA entitles him to some struggles, so no real worries. I’ve seen his bat compared today to Frank Thomas, Manny Ramirez, and Edgar Martinez “with more raw power”. There are never any guarantees with prospects, but he has more offensive potential than any Mariner minor leaguer since… I don’t know, Alex Rodriguez?
The rest of the deal is likely to be 2B David Adams and a third guy, possibly RHP Zach McAllister, decent high-minors prospects in their own right. We’ll have more info on them when/if the deal is finalized. I hate seeing Cliff go, and would have loved an extension, but this is about as good a deal as I’ve hoped for. The only person realistically discussed whom I would prefer over Montero is Justin Smoak, and there’s no guarantee he’ll be better than Montero. There’s also no guarantee Montero will be good, but if you’re going to make a move, and the Mariners are, this is a great one to make.