Cliff Lee continued his dominance yesterday, throwing another complete game and allowing 3 earned runs (4 overall) in his victory over the Yankees. Lee now has an ERA of 2.45 on the season, and has managed statistics comparable to the rest of the top starters in the American League despite missing the better part of a month to start the year. He is clearly the best starting pitcher who is likely to be available before the trade deadline. But where's he likely to land?
Some of the most likely suitors:
The Mets - Ray wrote up what he thought it would take for the Mets to land the ace last week, and I think that an offer built around High-A SS Wilmer Flores and another top prospect could probably get it done. Going here might actually improve Lee's value for fantasy, as the field plays similarly, and may get better run support.
The Twins - The Twins are in first place after their win today, but their rotation clearly could use another high-end starting pitcher to slot in with Francisco Liriano. They could also build a package around top catching prospect Wilson Ramos and 3B Danny Valencia potentially.
The Rangers - The Rangers have a very deep farm system at this point, and could offer the Mariners the most potentially without hurting their depth too much. A package involving one of their catcher prospects (Saltalamacchia, Ramirez, Teagarden) and some of their high-end pitching would probably get it done as well.
Regardless of where he lands, odds are that the package of players that the Mariners will receive in return are going to have a higher value than what they gave up back in December to acquire him.
Time for another Player A/Player B comparison:
Player A: .313, 49 runs, 17 HR, 54 RBI, 7 SB
Player B: .312, 44 runs, 18 HR, 57 RBI, 7 SB
Which player would you want for the rest of the season?
Well, neither player is particularly likely to be available in any league, but it's interesting to see just how well Player A has hit.
Player A hit his 17th homerun of the season yesterday, although it wasn't able to help his team win. That player? Joey Votto
Player B homered twice and drove in 5 of his 57 runs batted in en route to a victory. That player? Albert Pujols
I had been looking at the two players, and I knew Votto was having an excellent year, but I didn't realize it was that good.
Ted Lilly had another solid start last night, going 7 innings and striking out 5 en route to a Cubs' victory. If the Cubs do decide to rebuild, Lilly is probably the player who could bring back the most value to the Cubs in trade.
Alfonso Soriano hit 2 home runs last night, giving him 13 on the season. Clearly, he doesn't appear that he's ever going to be the elite base stealer that he once was, but there's still a lot of value there. He is on pace to hit just shy of 30 homeruns and drive in about 80-85 runs.
In his return to Anaheim, Vladimir Guerrero nearly lead the Rangers to a victory behind his 16th homerun of the season. He drove in 3 runs and went 2 for 4, and now has 63 runs batted in for the season. Despite being a designated hitter almost all season, he does qualify in the outfield, and I'm wondering if he will be in the top 10 of my outfielder rankings.
All Carlos Santana does is hit, it seems. He went 1 for 3 with 2 runs scored yesterday, and is now hitting .333/.456/.704 since his callup. I'm waiting for him to struggle like most rookies do, but I'm not sure it's going to happen anytime soon.
Nick Swisher hit 2 more home runs yesterday, and now has 13 on the season. I didn't realize how solid of a season that he was having. He is now hitting .292 with the 13 homeruns and 47 runs batted in. He wasn't on my list of outfielders to be ranked before, but I may have to evaluate whether he should be there when the rankings are done.
Carl Crawford returned both to the starting lineup and to his position in left field after missing the last few games due to a shoulder injury. He went 4 for 5 with a double and his 27th steal of the year. Looks like he's going to be just fine.
Prince Fielder hit 2 homeruns yesterday, and now has 17 on the season. He looks like he may be heating up, and could still top 35 homeruns I think.
Denard Span went 4 for 4 yesterday with 3 triples, 2 runs scored, and 5 runs batted in. He is now at .284/49 runs/3 HR/34 RBI/15 SB. I play in a league where total bases are an offensive category, and Span has shown himself to be almost as valuable as a solid homerun hitter in that format.
Matt Kemp was not in the starting lineup for the 3rd straight game, but came in to replace Manny Ramirez in the first inning after Ramirez injured his hamstring. He looks like he may have rebounded nicely, going 2 for 4. Ramirez seems likely to get tomorrow off to help with the hamstring.