The Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays have been discussing a deal that would send Indians left-hander Cliff Lee to the Rays for prospects, this according to John Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com
However, as Morosi notes the two have engaged in serious discussions, but as of Wednesday night a deal was not imminent. Apparently, Indians GM Mark Shapiro is looking for several high-end prospects, which the Rays seem reluctant to part with. Morosi notes that Rays right-hander Wade Davis is likely to be the centerpiece of the package.
Rays GM Andrew Friedman seems unwilling to part with more pitching prospects especially after trading away Edwin Jackson and Jason Hamel last year.
Furthermore, the Rays may have trouble adding Lee's salary, which is roughly $2 million for the rest of this season, and a club option for $9 million next season.
If in fact Davis was the centerpiece of the deal it's understandable Friedman might not be willing to part with him. He's considered by many scouts to have top end rotation potential along with the likes of Tommy Hanson and Clay Buchholz. John Sickels of Minor League Ball considers him a "Gil Meche" type, and has him rated the Rays number two prospect behind left-hander David Price.
Morosi suggests the Rays would probably be more comfortable moving some of their young middle infield depth, specifically, 23-year-old shortstop Reid Brignac. He has had good production at Triple-A Durham this year (.287/.343/.458) and even had decent production (.271 BA) during a big league call up this year.
In the end it's probably going to take a lot more than Brignac to get this deal done. If the Rays want Lee odds are they are going to have to part with Davis among others.