Our old friend Peter Gammons reported a short while ago (via Twitter) that the Rays and Mariners could be discussing a deal that would include BJ Upton and Cliff Lee

Rumblings around St. Pete ballpark was a BJ Upton-Cliff Lee deal. 3-way?

OK. Let’s ignore for a second that shock of reading that a mainstream media member actually knows The Trop is in St. Pete.

This deal makes a ton of sense for both sides. Upton is a big league-ready player for the M’s as they look to get back into contention next season. And they won’t shy away from Upton’s rising arbitration salary. For the Rays, Lee is one of the best pitchers in baseball and could make the Rays favorites to win the World Series.

Even if the Rays don’t win it all this season, they will be able to add two more compensation picks to their already bountiful supply in next year’s draft.



  1. Alex says:

    Getting rid of Bj, keeping Lee off the Yankees for a year, and getting two draft picks....beautiful

  2. Sarah says:

    Doesn't Gammons live around here? So he'd better know that the Trop is in St. Pete.

    I know this is get ahead of ourselves, but if this deal were real, does Wavis go to the bullpen? To Durham?

  3. Alex says:

    Durham. There's no place in the pen for him unless they cut Cormier, but that won't happen. They'll want him to continue starting and be ready for a possible injury/Sept call up. This does pose an interesting question for next year. Since both Davis and Hellickson will no doubt be up in September or earlier pending injury, which one of them makes the team next year? Or do they both make the team while the Rays trade Jamie or Garza (leaning towards Garza) to save some money?

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I can see it going either way. But if Rays rebuild next year (they'll still be a contender, but with less gusto) I think it makes more sense to trade Shields or Garza. Shields is getting older and both are getting expensive. So next year could be:


      Not bad.

      • Jason W says:

        If thats the case, I would rather trade Garza. And I thought in a Lee deal, we would end up trading Davis anyways?

  4. Rumpy says:

    Wouldn't you think we would have to give up a high-end prospect also? I know Upton is Major League ready, but his stock is pretty low right now. To get a guy like Cliff Lee, its going to take a haul. The guy has given up SIX WALKS ALL SEASON. Insane.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Tough to say. It wouldn't be a hellickson or Jennings obviously. But maybe a Torres or Colome? That might make it more enticing for the M's.

  5. Kirk says:

    Aren't you completely ignoring the "3-way?" portion of the tweet? It's possible that the Rays have no intention of landing Lee, just spinning him off for prospects or something.

  6. Jordi says:

    Isn't Gammons the same guy who said most people in Tampa listen to the Yankees on the radio? Yeah, I believe him about as much as I believe Dickie V.

  7. MJ says:

    If we get rid of Upton and lose CC this off season, what would a 2011 OF look like? From left to right, Zobrist/Jennings/Joyce? Jennings/Zobrist/Joyce?

  8. John S says:

    I absolutely agree with the sendiment that we can get by without Upton for the rest of the year. As a result, the trade does not have to net Lee. Case in point last night.

    Maybe the catcher Ramos from the Twins in a 3-way deal. Seattle also has some very highly rated prospects in the system that we could get at least 1 blue chip prospect.

    If it gets rocky in CF then Jennings will come up and man center field and hit in the 9 hole and Zobrist or Sean Rod will leadoff.

    • Beth says:

      You can trade Upton after the season for prospects. Why on earth would you trade him in July if not to get someone who can help the team win a World Series this year?

      • John S says:

        Because Beth,

        We have shown that we can win without BJ and our current lineup...

        We beat the Twins a top 10 in MLB at THEIR place and game 1 vs. the Red Sox a top 5 team in baseball

        And Ramos would instantly be an upgrade.. he is ready to play now.. and shoppach would be out.. Now problem is Seattle wants him bad... and I don't think that catcher is much of a priority right now

  9. John S says:

    MJ brings up a good point..

    The OF next year will be a question if we let career. 240 headcase go..

    I have mentioned before, if the market is saying Crawford is going to get $17 million a year then between cutting Upton/trading Shields/letting Soriano walk/Burrell and his $8Million are already gone/And Pena's $10 million is gone. Not to mention Bartlett's $5 million (which will probably get traded).

    Upton $5 mil next year (Arb.)
    Shields is what $7 mil (I believe that is low by a couple million)
    Burrell $ 8 million
    Soriano $ 8 million
    Pena $ 10 million
    Crawford $ 10 million

    They want to decrease payroll by $10 million I believe ok so the original savings of $48 million coming off the books will only be $38 million.
    Out of the $38 million leftover to hit the projected payroll. Give $10 to arb players which I would believe to be high because the highest arb players will be traded like Upton and Bartlett. But whatever we will go with it. So there is $28 million leftover. We would need a 1st baseman, OF, closer and maybe an upgrade at catcher. Obviously to remain competitive we will need good players in those positions, no hole fillers.

    At least one of those positions, if not 2 positions, will be filled with a very good player because of being taken care of by the trades of Shields/Garza, Upton and Bartlett. So lets say those 2 players we bring in with trades will cost us $15 milllion combined each year. Rays will trade for very good but not expensive field players.

    That leaves $13 million. And we get All-Star Howell back! That still leaves money for Soriano and Benoit to be extended for a couple years. Worst case Soriano wants more money and years and we extend Benoit for a couple of years (I feel pretty confident with him) and McGee starts to be mended for a closer role.

    So Garza

    Trade or Free Agent or Pena for next to nothing
    Sean Rod
    Joyce/Trade/Free Agent
    Aybar/Trade/Free Agent/ or whatever field players gets the day off from the field that day

    That is a pretty damn good core of a team without the additions that will we will get through trades and free agency and those players will be very good.

    • Connie says:

      They NEED to keep Soriano and Benoit. Who knows how Howell will fare next year. And what is the secret to Sonny's success in the pen? Is he only good for 1-2 timesthrough the lineup? Can he keep it up?

  10. Gus says:

    I think it is unlikely, but the prospect of getting Davis into the pen (goodbye Andy) as another power arm for September and the playoffs and Lee into the rotation as a rent-a-player seems like a fine plan for me. If it costs us Upton, that is addition by subtraction.

    One thing people ignore is that the toughest Ray to replace next year may will be Soriano (and this is coming from a CC admirer). After 12 seasons in the desert without a closer, Rays fans finally have one. It makes so much of a difference, and those close wins the past few days are a whole lot easier with an effective, hard throwing closer.

    • Carey says:

      I think, as long as we keep on of the two (Benoit or Sorianno) we'll be ok. I personally don't see much of a difference between the two and I actually think I like Benoit's stuff better.

  11. Mason Turner says:

    I see nothing wrong with this deal. Let's get it done.

  12. John S says:

    This is to everyone,

    What do you think Soriano would demand in the market at this pace?

    Remember this would be his best year by far. People will pay a tad more for several proven seasons.

    Would he want a 4 or 5 year deal? Maybe $8 million per year?

    Obviously probably too much for the Rays, but Benoit I believe could be the guy. He has been lights out and has closer appearance. Was Benoit's deal a 2-year minor league deal? Even so Benoit would probably get $4 or $5 million a year. Sign him up to a 2 or 3 year extension and prepping McGee should only take 1-2 more years.

    Oh and I forgot Wheeler's $4 million in gone off the books next year also. We will not retain him.

    We will have money for a good closer next year.

    • Gus says:

      Soriano probably gets a 2-3 year deal totalling $20M from somebody like NYY as Rivera insurance. The Rays should never pay that with their financial shortcomings. And Benoit may be the guy. But he to me looks to be more of a one-year fluke than a real life closer.

      Personally, I think the Rays should see if one of the young arms (Davis) can close.

      • MJ says:

        What do you think Benoit looks like a fluke? His fastball is an effortless 94-96, and his changeup looks pretty filthy to me when he is throwing it right.

        • John S says:

          Benoit was a former all star closer... with actually more closer experience than soriano.. He has had an injury riddled career which should make him still cheap even after the year...

          Maybe mcgee will be ready sooner.. or we trade for someone or we bring in a free agent

          • Gus says:

            Are you guys talking about the same Benoit who had 8 career saves coming into this season? He's 32 and has looked great this year. Awesome. But unless I read the numbers wrong, he's never really done it.

            I'm talking about having an actual closer who has proved he can do it over at least one whole season. Soriano fits that bill for me. I think that is one position that the Rays have proved that you can ruin a team if the back end of the bullpen is a mess. See the 2007 D-Rays and (to a lesser extent) the 2009 Rays.

      • Alex says:

        Are you aware that the year before his shoulder injury last year he was just as dominate for Texas? Not quite what he's doing this year, but a 2.82 era and 87 k in 82 in

  13. Mark says:

    What a trade for Tampa if it happens. They would have to be the favorites in the AL East and therefore all of baseball. Lee has absolutely dominated the Yankees - probably the most important piece of all in this whole ordeal.

  14. John S says:

    Haha also how many 1st round or supplemental first rounders... goodness...

    7? Crawford, Soriano will get 2 a piece; Wheeler is a class B (so that is 1); Lee will net another 2. Pena I believe grades out to a class A also I believe. (Another 2)
    So could that be 9 in top 50 or so? Hahaha.. Replenish that system damn... Maybe that is where all that extra money will go next year with all the big guys contracts.

    On the down side I do not believe next year's draft is supposed to be as good as this years!

    This is with the assumption that this is correct which I am not 100% sure of:
    Class A gets the team that signs him 1st round and then they get front of line in the supplemental pick (is that right?).

    Class B will put you in the supplemental round

  15. I think the world of BJ Upton, but a change of scenerymight do him more good than staying here. Funny how if he had connected a few feet to the left, the lollygagging and in-game fight might have been swept under the turf.
    He is the newest Rays scapegoat-in-training, and doesn't seem to have a place here anymore. A change to a team that has two Gold Glover's (Ichiro/Frankiln G.) in their outfield, plus add a versatile Upton could make Seattle a serious defensive juggernaut in the outfield in 2011.
    Lee might be considered a "hired gun" or "rental player", but considering what he poses as a LHP especially against the Yankees (recent 9 inning win against NYY)..could be a definite Playoff move.
    BTW, did Tampa Bay salavate about Lee in the 2009 Trade Deadline? Might be a year later, but Lee is still shining like a ace.

  16. John S says:

    Remember even if Lee comes over, he still needs us to score runs

    Price has a better ERA than Lee

    • Matt says:

      I agree. Getting Lee would be awesome but pitching hasn't really been the issue this season, its scoring runs. I know Shields, Garza, and Davis might have had bad games this year but we need a bat more than we need an arm.

  17. When did JoeRaysFan take over? I must have missed the announcement. I love Joe and all, but don't get rid of the The Hangover whatever you do. That is a must read everyday.

  18. zech m says:

    i know the rays need another bat but u cant pass on a guy who could dominate the yankees and redsoxs everytime he pitches and plus he is solid in the playoffs and gives the rays the best possible chance to win in the playoffs if they can get the wildcard!

  19. zech m says:

    i would trade davis and shields and upton for lee in a heart beat because noway do the rays win a world series with shields as a #1 starting pitcher plus shields chocks in big games! to me its a no brainer!!

    • Alex says:

      Ok besides the fact that you can't spell choke that would be an incredibly dumb trade. Shields wouldn't be our number 1 going into the playoffs if we got Lee. Lee would be our number 1. Jamie is just going through a rough stretch. Getting rid of Davis and Jamie along with BJ would be a complete waste of talent. A lot of teams would covet Jamie if we threw him out there. He's still young and in his prime, he has stuff to work with, he has a proven track record, and he's under control forever (basically).

      • zech m says:

        it would not be a stupid trade we r all sick of B.J UPTON time to move on from him his batting average will continue to sux and his attitude will never change, trade him now and be done with this clown and as for james shields he would be a number 1 pitcher on any other team but the rays and he will continue to have control issues and will continue to give games away enough is enough hes simply not getting better!!

  20. Alex says:

    It would be hilarious to see some of you run a team. As soon as someone went through a bad stretch you would send them on their way.

  21. John S says:

    I know I would do a good job

    What about you?

  22. zech m says:

    its the same thing every year with james shields and i going on record by sayn that the rays need to get cliff lee it makes sense and plus james shields will never be a big game pitcher i would trade for lee and make lee our #1 and garza 2 and niemann 3 and price 4 . know that rotation would be alott better then what it is know! rays managment need to make this trade happen! from what i read Cliff Lee in the playoffs give any team he plays for a chance to win the world series!!

  23. Mike K says:

    Sternberg added some fuel to the fire by stating "Our eye is really about making the postseason.....Money won't be an object. Players are always an object for us and the money will be an impediment, but we'll figure it out if it makes all the sense in the world for this team."


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