Rangers turning up the heat for Cliff Lee?

July 04, 2010 - Detroit, MI, UNITED STATES - epa02236804 Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Cliff Lee trows against the Detroit Tigers during the second inning at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan, USA on 04 July 2010.

MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports that talks between the Rangers and Mariners are heating up for pitcher Cliff Lee, although nothing is imminent at this point and there is still plenty of time before the July 31 trade deadline.

The Rangers have been actively looking for a front-line starting pitcher, they have made no secret that Lee is their top priority and they have the Minor League prospects to get him here. As far as talent in the farm system, the Rangers openly believe they are in far better position to acquire a major piece before the Trade Deadline than most any other team.

The club is still limited by financial constraints but Daniels admitted last week there is still some flexibility in the budget for the Rangers to do something before the July 31 Trade Deadline. The club has not been involved in the International amateur signing period for Latin American players this month in attempt to hold back final resources for the Trade Deadline.

There is little doubt that the Rangers have the talent to make the deal. The Mariners are reportedly looking for a big bat for their lineup and the Rangers have both Justin Smoak at the Major League level and Chris Davis at Triple-A Oklahoma City.

The Rangers are also deep in Minor League pitching although indications are they are not interested in talking about Tanner Scheppers or Martin Perez. But Derek Holland and Blake Beavan could be two names that might interest the Mariners.

I’ve maintained that Roy Oswalt would be a great fit for the Rangers, although the same hurdles (i.e. Texas’ financial restrictions) still apply. I would have to imagine that Oswalt would come cheaper (in terms of prospects) than Lee, but it’s tough to speculate what the asking price would be for either pitcher.

Here’s some food for thought when it comes to any deal involving Oswalt: At least one GM has stated that Houston’s Ed Wade is a tad difficult to deal with when it comes to trades. In a recent poll conducted by ESPN’s Buster Onley, it was said that Wade is always willing to talk, “but it seems like he’s never willing to put himself in a position to risk anything.”

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