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Cliff hanger as trade deadline approaches

The extended showcase cotinues for Cliff Lee when he starts against the Yankees tonight. We'll get into the matchup later. The Mariners' lefthander has about a 100 percent chance to being traded, but there is something of  a catch: He's probably more for rent than for sale.

The team that gets him will only have to pay what remains off his $9 million salary--a bargain for a player of his ilk--but Lee is all about the money and there is is no guarantee the free agent to be will remain on board. That is why the Phillies felt they were better off investing their money in Roy Halladay when they shipped Lee to Seattle for three prospects.

Because Lee's salary is not onerous, any of the contenders would jump at taking him for the right price. The Yankees and Mets are obvioulsy in the mix. There may also be the opportunity to sign Lee long term, but that would require him giving up fre agency.

Lee, who turns 32 in August, has been underpaid by super star standards. Remember, he did win the Cy Young Award in 2008 with the Indians after going 22-3, Someone will have to pay a heavy price to keep him beyond this season.

And if you have to pay Roy Oswalt money ($16 million) to keep Lee,  maybe it would be better to go after the Astros' proven starter.

New York Sports