I’ve returned from a nice little Fourth of July weekend out in Lake of the Woods. It’s always been one of my favorite holidays, if I was to rank holidays. But that’s for another day.
The Cliff Lee rumors were swirling pretty wildly last night. The report drawing the most conversation was AOL Fanhouse’s Jeff Fletcher reporting that the Minnesota Twins had offered prospects Wilson Ramos and Aaron Hicks to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Lee.
La Velle E. Neal of the Minneapolis Star Tribune quickly responded to the report by saying no deal is imminent.
I’m not familiar with Fletcher, and I’m reluctant to get fired up about reports like this anyway. A lot of names will get thrown about, and who knows what will end up being true.
And there’s a reason these reports are on Twitter. If they had a lot of substance, they would have gotten plenty of play elsewhere.
Neal also mentioned that he thinks any deal for Lee wouldn’t be solely for Lee. I’m guessing the Twins would want a reliever too, probably David Aardsma or Brandon League.
You have to give up something to get something. And while I have no problem with trading Ramos because he’s blocked by Mauer, I’d be real careful throwing around someone like Hicks. This team has both Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel set to become free agents after next season, and Hicks is a highly regarded outfielder capable of being in the big leagues in three years.
Lee’s inclusion on this team would make the Twins contenders for a World Series title, but it doesn’t guarantee it, nor does it guarantee that they even make the playoffs.
Hicks has been named the top prospect in the Twins system for two straight years, and the former first-round pick has been ranked as the organization’s best athlete, best outfield arm, best strike-zone discipline, etc. In other words, he could end up being a stud. Maybe not, but he could be.
Of course, if the Twins acquired Lee and lost him in free agency after this season, they would get a first-round pick from the team that signs him, plus a compensatory pick after the first round. That gives them ample opportunity to replenish the farm system.
And Hicks’ numbers haven’t been real impressive at Class A Beloit. He was pretty good in April and June, but real cold in May. Worth noting despite his occasional struggles, he’s in the top five in the Midwest League in walks, so he is showing that plate discipline off just fine down there.
So it looks like he’s got a lot of tools that need refining, but his eye at the plate is very good. If the rest of his game catches up, he could be a dangerous player.
Do you want to give up six years of that kind of potential – plus Ramos – for a couple of months of the Yankee Slayer himself in Lee? The Twins will have to make that decision.