Report: Cliff Lee not on the trading block yet

May 11, 2010: Cliff Lee for the Seattle Mariners pitches during a game against the hometown Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. The Mariners beat the Orioles 5 - 1.

Despite rumors stating that several teams are interested in the ace, the Mariners have yet to put Cliff Lee on the trading block according to the New York Daily News.

“It is the same thing with (Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik) as it has been all along,” the source said. “He knows to contact teams when he’s ready to deal. He hasn’t done that yet, but that could change any minute.”

According to people familiar with the Mets’ thinking, Lee remains the team’s top choice of all potentially available starters. Therefore, the Mets’ pursuit of pitching help will accelerate along with the lefty’s availability. Despite losses by R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi this week, the Mets remain content – for the moment – with the middle of their rotation, and are not interested in Kevin Millwood, Jake Westbrook or any of the other mid-level starters available.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Phillies are also interested in acquiring Lee (or re-acquiring Lee I should say), although GM Ruben Amaro Jr. “will not cut off his nose to spite his face.” In other words, Amaro remains open to the idea of trading for Lee but he’s not going to give up a small fortunate of players for him, which might be exactly what it will take to pry him from Seattle.

He might not be on the trading block now, but I don’t think there’s any chance that the M’s hang onto Lee all season. When they acquired him from the Phillies last offseason, they thought they’d be contenders in 2010. But they haven’t been, and now they need to get something for him before he hits free agency in 2011. It wouldn’t make sense for the Mariners to hang onto him, continue to lose, and not recoup some of the prospects they lost when they made the deal for Lee last winter. (Not the actual prospects that they lost of course, but some prospects.)

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