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Could the Dodgers be interested in Cliff Lee?

Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has made one thing clear, his priority heading into the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31 is to add a reliever who can pitch either the seventh or eight inning. But Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times believes it's time for the Dodgers to go after a veteran-starting pitcher, who can put them over the top.

As I'm sure you've heard about a million times, this year's market for starting pitching is bleak at best. So getting a starter who fits that criteria is not going to be easy, and more importantly it's not going to be cheap.

The Dodgers are however one of the few teams that have the resources to pull off a deal of that caliber. They have a ton of young pieces that could allow them to land a top notch starter, however, odds are any team dealing a pitcher of that caliber would demand either Chad Billingsley or Clayton Kershaw in return, both of whom the Dodgers are not going to part with.

Essentially there are only two names out there that fit the "over the top" criteria. One you may have heard of, he pitches for the Blue Jays. Of course we're talking about Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay. This seems a bit out of reach for the Dodgers because Colletti would have to give up an arm and a leg to get Halladay. It would probably take Kershaw and Billingsley to get Halladay. So lets for a minute push that aside and say it's not going to happen.

That brings us to the second name that has been out there, and that is Cleveland Indians starter Cliff Lee, who the Dodgers could probably acquire for significantly less than Halladay. Initially Indians GM Mark Shapiro came out and said it would take major league ready pitching to get Lee, but that was before Halladay hit the market. I have to believe if the Dodgers built a package around young pitcher James McDonald they might be able to get something done with the Indians. Now on paper the Indians have no immediate need to part with Lee. His contract is more than affordable, he's signed through this year for $5.75 million and has a very reasonable club option for $8 million in 2010. However, given how weak this market is Lee may have more value now than ever. At 30, Lee is not getting any younger so if the Indians can move him for a young pitcher like McDonald I see no reason they hang on to him. The Indians need to continue to collect young players that will allow them to compete for a long time in the future. I can't imagine that Cliff Lee is part of the Indians long-term plans, and if I'm right, then he has to go.

The Dodgers are currently 56-32, and have a seven game lead over the Giants in the NL West. Acquiring a starter like Lee can be a move that catapults the Dodgers to a championship. It's going to cost them youth, but sometimes that the price you have to pay for a ring.