Cheap Seats

Time to jump the Cliff?

If the Cardinals are looking for some help to fill the holes in their tattered rotation, Seattle may be ready to open up the store.

A report in the New York Post said the Mariners, who are off to a horribly disappointing start, are ready to deal ace Cliff Lee in exchange for low level minor leaguers.

The Cardinals don't have a lot in their system that they would be willing to part with. But they would be wise to scour in thoroughly in effort to put together a deal for the lefthanded Lee. He's just as good -- if not better -- than some of the big name arms being tossed about these days. And he would be far cheaper than Roy Oswalt or Mark Buehrle who both have multiple years left on their deals at a much higher pay rate than Lee.

With a 4-2 record and a 2.77 ERA for the last place Mariners, Lee earns $8 million this season and is eligible to be a free agent at the end of the year. Not only would those factors cause Lee to cost less over the balance of his contract, but the M's would seem to be able to command less for his services since he's only signed through the end of the year.

Lee has struck out 57 while walking four in a season that started about a month late because he was recovering from injury. He's allowed 0.92 baserunners per inning pitched in 61 2/3 innings pitched.

The Mariners think the Yankees are interested in Lee, according to a story in the New York Post. They have reportedly been scouting New York's Class A and AA teams in search of trade chips.

Lee offers the Cardinals the added bonus of not only replacing Kyle Lohse in the starting rotation. He's a guy who could pitch at the front of the rotation if Chris Carpenter or Brad Penny should go down again. He's also a pretty good post season pitcher, should the Cardinals make it that far. He was 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA during the playoffs and World Series last year with the Phillies.