Olney: Non-Cliff Lee pieces are a good fit for the Yankees


The trade rumor circuit is starting to pick up the pace, but as much as we might want to see Cliff Lee in pinstripes, Buster Olney says the Yankees just aren’t focusing on him right now. Despite Javy Vazquez‘s early season suckiness and A.J. Burnett‘s more recent suckiness, the Yanks’ starters have still pitched to a 4.22 xFIP this season, the third best mark in the league. Their ERA is even shinier at 3.82. At this point, Lee is nothing more than a luxury. Another bullpen arm and some bench help should be higher up on the priority list.

Categories : Asides


  1. Steve H says:

    Buster’s really breaking some big news. Where does he get this fantastic info? The worst part is, Buster will probably, 2x a week mention that the Yankees aren’t in on Lee. We get it, we expected it, and until something changes, Olney should focus on actual news.

    • Not Tank the Frank says:

      This. Oddly similar to how the Yankees weren’t in on Roy Halladay last year either…when they had a championship rotation. Huge news.

      • Thomas says:

        Actually, last year they had a spot for Halladay with really only 3 set starter plus Joba as a 4th with an inning limit. The 5th spot was pretty open with Wang/Mitre/Gaudin pitching.

        This year the Yankees have 5 legitimate pitchers, so there is even less of a need to add Lee.

        • Not Tank the Frank says:

          They may have had a spot for him, but the point was they didn’t have a need for him. It was obvious that the Yankees weren’t about to trade prospects AND sign him to a long-term extension; just as it is this year with Cliff Lee. Even more so as you said.

          The Yankees don’t trade top prospects for the opportunity to sign players to $100 + million contracts just for the hell of it.

          • Tom says:

            Except the offered prospects for him after the season and would have given an extension. But besides that, you’re right.

  2. Dela G says:

    they really need a good righty reliever

    i say bring up ivan nova again and let him play more often. i’m sure many would disagree, but he could easily be better than CHoP, and really impressed me when he pitched earlier in the season

    • RHP Relievers
      Aceves (injured)
      Brackman (h/t Nostra-Artist)
      another dark-horse candidate I’ll unveil in a second*

      I think we can find 4 good righty relievers out of that group of 12 (not counting Aceves). And 4 is all we need; Mo + 4 RHP + 2 LHP = one solid bullpen. I’m more concerned with finding two good lefty relievers out of the following group of five:

      LHP Relievers
      De La Rosa

      I think we need to be examining the lefty reliever trade market, not the righty one. JMHO.


      The co-dark horse candidate, along with Brackman, to get fast tracked into the 2010 Yankee bullpen if he continues to maintain his excellent K/9 rate? Tim Norton.

      Yeah, that’s right.

      He’s already 27, he’s always had great stuff but only been delayed due to injuries, but he’s now healthy and throwing gas again. Across Tampa and Trenton, he’s got a 41/5 K/BB, a 1.32 ERA, and a 0.841 WHIP this year in 27.1 innings. I’d love to see him bumped up to Scranton in the next month to see if he can do what he’s doing to AAA vets. Joining the pen in September and making a cameo wouldn’t be the craziest thing in the world.

  3. bonestock94 says:

    Giving up prospects for half a season of Lee would be nothing short of retarded, especially with a top rotation like the Yankees. Free agency is a different story.

    I’d like to see the bullpen addressed internally and a good bench slugger or DH type traded for with low level prospects, a la 2009.

    • steve (do) says:

      That depends entirely on which prospects, doesn’t it? Mediocre prospects and an entension window? Sign me up. Lee is awesome. That’s not going to happen, but trading for an awesome player is usually not “retarded”

      • That’s not going to happen

        And you admit it as well. So your argument is:

        “In scenarios which are totally impossible and never happen, it’s not retarded to trade prospects you have for an awesome player you don’t need and can sign for nothing but money in the next offseason.”

        • steve (do) says:

          So you agree with his first sentence, as written? There are many, many scenarios where trading for Cliff Lee would not be “retarded”. They are probably unlikely, but I wasn’t the one making the emphatic blanket statement. I didn’t really see this as controversial and I was really just objecting to the absolutism.

    • tony c. says:

      sounds good to me.

  4. Frank says:

    Maybe not today, but if 1 month from today AJ and Vazquez continue to pitch erratically and considering Hughes is on an innings limit (and may ultimately go to the BP), Lee may well become a target.

    • Tom Zig says:

      I think it would require 1 or 2 pitchers going down with a season ending injury. Not just AJ and/or Vazquez pitching erratically.

      • That.

        AJ and Vazquez pitching erratically is not a reason to trade for Lee. AJ and Vazquez not pitching at all because they’re out for the year with an injury, THAT’S a reason to trade for a pitcher… but not Cliff Lee.

        It’s more like a reason to trade for Ted Lilly or Ian Snell or Edwin Jackson or Jake Westbrook or some cheap(er), innings eater kind of guy. CC/Pettitte/Hughes gives us the luxury of not needing to add an ace, just a reliable back end guy.

      • Chris says:

        I think the bigger problem is that someone else is going to offer more for Lee than the Yankees. It’s not so much that the Yankees don’t want him, couldn’t use him, or don’t have enough to offer. The bigger issue is that there are teams that want him more and would give up a lot more to get him.

    • tony c. says:

      the only way Lee would fit. the yankees would have to move Hughes to the pen &I don’t see that happening.

  5. dan genovese says:

    if we want lee next we can buy him……………tell me who can outspend us………..ill wait for that answer………..

    • Tom Zig says:

      No one can, but conceivably someone might offer him more than we feel he is worth to us. Say we offer him 19-20M a year, and someone counters with 24M a year. Could we offer 25? Sure. Would we? Probably not.

      • Brad Toughy says:

        Would someone offer a pitcher $24MM a year though? Roy Halladay didn’t get that much, and even though Cliff Lee is a year younger, I don’t see a team locking a guy with some injury history up for huge money and huge years.

        He’ll probably end up with more than a Burnett/Lackey deal but less than Sabathia.

        • jsbrendog (returns) says:

          He’ll probably end up with more than a Burnett/Lackey deal but less than Sabathia.

          yeah i kind of figure this as well

    • Dear dan genovese:

      Thank you for not capitalizing every letter of your post. We appreciate very much your willingness to speak civilly.

      (I could ask you to knock off the ellipses, but I guess it’s baby steps, huh?)

  6. emac2 says:

    As much as we might not need Lee for ourselves (I’m not sure that is true for a playoff rotation that looks much better with CC, Lee, Hughes and Pettitte) I would be worried about a few teams in the playoffs if he was added to their roster.

    If we could trade for him now AND have him accept a CC deal I would consider it pretty strongly.

    I would also love to figure out how we could trade Vasquez and AJ to NL teams for prospects we could then send to Seattle for Lee. The return from those guys plus a Laird and Nunez should be plenty.

  7. bonestock94 says:

    lol at AJ Burnett not being on the playoff rotation

  8. dffdg says:

    The Orioles of the 1970′s were famous for bringing up minor league starters and introducing them to the majors via the bullpen. That tactic broke in some good pitchers.

  9. Jp says:

    Trade Romine, Nunez, and McAllister for Lee.

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