Twins Eye Star Pitcher Lee
The Minnesota Twins believe that in order to win their American League Central division, they need a solid starting pitcher. They are believed to be on the hunt for Seattle Mariners ace Cliff Lee.
Lee is much more than a solid starting pitcher. He is an All-Star this year (despite his Mariners team being in last place in the American League West). Lee is a former Cy Young award winner. He is playoff tested (and World Series tested, having beaten the Yankees twice during the series). He is the hottest pitcher in baseball for the past two months and it is only right that the Twins and a handful of other teams are looking to acquire him.
Lee (8-3) is having a good year, despite his team having a bad one. He has an ERA of only 2.34. In the 96 innings he has thrown so far, he has allowed only five walks while striking out 78 of the batters he’s faced – a truly remarkable K-to-BB ratio. It is this good year plus the pedigree he has that drives teams like the Twins crazy in trying to recruit him to their side.
The Minnesota Twins have pitching issues at this point in time. Their bullpen is not exactly holding down the fort, but the blame could be passed on to the starting pitchers who aren’t exactly doing their jobs properly. Acquiring an ace like Cliff Lee will not only bolster their starting rotation, it would also give the bullpen additional rest and lesser innings, thereby not having to conserve their energy for long innings.
In addition, a veteran and playoff tested leader like Lee would help the Twins’ current roster of young pitchers. Oftentimes with younger talent the stuff they throw is not the issue – it is confidence that often determines if they have a good game or not. Lee would certainly be a great factor for them in this area.
Many other teams are vying for Cliff Lee’s services, but the Twins are in the front seat as of the moment. They can offer the Mariners what they want – young talent (especially hitters). The prospects are outfielder Aaron Hicks and catcher Wilson Ramos, both of which are intriguing to the Mariners. Twins outfielders Ben Revere and Joe Benson’s names are being thrown around as possible inclusions to the trade.
Cliff Lee could possibly be a short term rental for the Twins, but one that they can afford. Beyond that is another question. With their mainstays Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau signed to big contracts, it might be farfetched for the Twins to offer Lee anything beyond this season. However, it looks like the Twins are ready to win – and win now.
Lee is possibly the only piece missing for the Twins to win the division, make the postseason, and eventually toward the World Series. They were close last season, but with Lee’s immense pitching talent, the Twins could go deeper into the postseason. Everyone knows that starting pitching is a big key come October, and Lee himself has proven that he has the stuff and the mental fortitude to win at the big stage – things that the Twins lack as of this moment.
The current Mariners ace could be a short term rental, but if the Twins were to go on to the World Series – and hopefully for them, win it – the move to acquire Lee would be a stroke of genius. The Minnesota Twins are hot on the trail of Cliff Lee, and rightfully so. It’s just a matter of making the deal and sealing it.