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Hot Sexy Cliff Lee Trade Rumor Action

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This post is blatantly engineered to drive traffic. The Mariners might trade Cliff Lee! Ken Rosenthal reports on what's happening!

Executives from two different clubs interested in Cliff Lee say that the Mariners are seeking a mammoth return for the ace left-hander following a report of a substantial offer from the Twins.

One of the execs, labeling the Mariners’ request a "crazy ask," said the M’s proposal was in excess of the Twins’ offer, as reported by AOL Fanhouse – Triple A catcher Wilson Ramos and Single A outfielder Aaron Hicks.

Of course, this handsome devil says the M's and Twins have yet to exchange names, so who knows what's really going on? It's rumor season. Rumor season brings out the best in writer efficiency, and the worst in writer accuracy. Especially pertaining to this particular front office.

...actually, on second thought, I bet I know exactly what's been happening. Of course!

  • Teams that are competing notice Cliff Lee's success, express internal interest
  • Teams expressing internal interest call Mariners to express outward interest
  • Mariners field calls from all teams expressing interest in order to gauge level of interest
  • Interested teams make initial, underwhelming offers
  • Mariners counter underwhelming offers with overwhelming offers
  • Interested teams talk amongst selves, consider next step

If the Mariners are indeed making "crazy asks" as the executive says, that will raise some eyebrows, but it shouldn't come as a surprise, nor is it indicative of a poor, unproductive strategy. This is not how you negotiate:

Customer: I will pay you five dollars for this hat.
Vendor: You will pay me five dollars for this hat.

This is how you negotiate:

Customer: I will pay you one dollar for this hat.
Vendor: You will pay me seventy-three dollars for this hat.
Customer: I will pay you two dollars for this hat.
Vendor: You will pay me twenty dollars for this hat, and you will give me another hat.
Customer: I will pay you five dollars for this hat.
Vendor: You will pay me five dollars for this hat.

When someone comes to the M's with an offer for Lee, the natural response is to counter the offer with something more, because no one ever makes his best offer first, and these things are all about squeezing as much as you can out of another team before pulling the trigger. So what if that means negotiations drag out? With 17 teams within five games of a playoff spot, Cliff Lee wasn't going to get moved after ten minutes of chatter. There are going to be a lot of calls. There are going to be a lot of emails. There are going to be a lot of text messages awkwardly sent to the wrong guy named Jack.

The Zduriencik front office initially lowballed Felix Hernandez with contract extension terms. They placed a high price tag on Jarrod Washburn. They wound up getting good deals on both. Whatever's going on behind the scenes, and whoever's the most likely Lee destination, I think we can trust that in this instance, Z and company know what they're doing.