Note: if Happ and/or Blanton are involved, and they're coming here, then that would change things, but I'm not going to speculate any more than I have to.
So, we can't yet be sure what we're going to be giving up here, but that doesn't mean we can't make some educated guesses and speculate.
The big key, for me, is Michael Saunders. I've made no secret of how much I like Saunders, and how I think he compares pretty favorably to a guy like Randy Winn. Despite his initial Major League flop, Saunders is an athletic 23 year old corner outfielder who runs well, plays easy defense, has a solid idea of the strike zone, and who hits for reasonable power from the left side of the plate. Like Winn, he doesn't excel at any one thing, but he earns good marks pretty much across the board, making him a smart gamble with medium upside. Being that he's under team control for six years, Saunders is a greatly underrated asset, and I would really hate to lose him here. Cliff Lee is awesome, but I'd have a tough time stomaching the sacrifice of six years of Saunders for (probably) one of Lee when the team still isn't that strong.
After Saunders, though...honestly, if you remove Saunders from the equation, it's hard to come up with a package that I wouldn't like. Brandon Morrow would be a loss, but he doesn't have the same team control duration as Saunders, and he's way less dependable. Morrow didn't make any progress last year, he has yet to show any ability to stick as a starter, and his secondary stuff hasn't developed from where it was when he was drafted. Morrow's been blessed with incredible talent, but he hasn't built on it, which makes him easier to lose.
And then you end up talking about minor leaguers, Phillippe Aumont's being the most recognizable name. But, at least as a Mariner, Aumont's in the bullpen. Relievers simply aren't very valuable unless they develop into the best of the best, and the odds are against that happening. While Aumont has great stuff and should make the Majors, it's questionable whether he ever gains the command to reach the upper level. Then you've got guys like Juan Ramirez, a solid but by no means can't-miss starter in high-A, and Tyson Gillies, a slap-hitting speedy outfielder with low upside...these are nice prospects to have, but they're not the sort of prospects you freak out over when you have the opportunity to land a Cliff Lee. Carlos Triunfel would kind of suck to lose, but I don't think he'd be moved after a lost season.
I don't know what theare going to surrender in this deal. There are plenty of rumors circling around, but no confirmation. With that said, as long as Michael Saunders isn't involved - and I'm guessing that he isn't - I think I'm going to be thrilled. It's weird for a team in Seattle's situation to go after a potential one-year star like Cliff Lee, but when you don't actually have to lose that much of significant value, you seize the chance without a second thought. Let this be a lesson to those of you who thought our front office was too concerned with efficiency to land a big name - Jack Zduriencik is one ballsy son of a bitch.