The Pros and Cons of Trading Cliff Lee


This post isn’t for rosterbation, and it isn’t for any type of specific speculation. Whether or not Cliff Lee gets traded, though, is and will continue to be an extremely popular topic, not only in Seattle, but all over baseball. With the Mariners now sitting 9 games out of first place on June 10th, yeah, it’s starting to look more and more like a matter of ‘when’, rather than a matter of ‘if’, which is why I want to examine the pluses and minuses of shipping him off at the deadline (or sooner).


  • The return. If you send Cliff Lee off to a contender between now and July 31st, the odds are pretty strong that you’re going to get a more worthwhile return than what you’re going to get with the 2 compensatory draft picks. While first round draft picks are nice, this team really needs pieces that will be able to help in both the near and longer term future.
  • It would eliminate any uncertainty in the front office. Let’s face it, once the Mariners trade Cliff Lee, anyone with a brain should be able to admit that the 2010 season is a lost cause. The front office will finally be able to stop worrying about this year and set their sights on 2011 and beyond. I would imagine that being able to do that would make Jack Zduriencik’s job a whole lot easier.
  • Improves our 2011 draft status. The Mariners are already on pace to finish with one of the worst records in baseball, and without Cliff Lee, they become even worse. That’s generally not looked upon as a positive, but the worse their final record is, the higher they’re placed in the draft.
  • Cliff Lee gets to play for a contender. Man oh man does he deserve it, too.


  • Seriously damages this team’s watchability. You think this team is tough to watch now? Cliff Lee has been one of the few saving graces in what has been absolutely pitiful 2+ months. Get rid of him, and we’re one step closer to watching a minor league team.
  • Doesn’t send a good message to the team. If this team does trade Cliff Lee, they’re essentially waving the white flag. Needless to say, the players that still have to go down with this doomed ship aren’t going to be too happy with that. Granted, this would be a much bigger deal if we hadn’t already locked up Felix.
  • Eliminates any chance of a ’95-esque miracle. Yeah, I’m not really worried about this one.
  • I love Cliff Lee 🙁

As painful as it is for me to say it, the pros heavily outweigh the cons. Once this organization is convinced that they’re not going to contend (and if they aren’t yet, they probably will be soon), it’d be in their bet interest to say goodbye to Cliff Lee, say goodbye to 2010, and get to thinking about the future.