Brian Cashman is lamenting over a starting pitcher, saying the Yankee are one hurler away from being a World Series contender.
He had expected that pitcher to be Cliff Lee.
We'll never know, but 2010 might have brought a championship and Lee might have been in the fold for 2011 and beyond if only the Yankees had grabbed the lefthander when they the chance.
Seattle was shopping Lee last July and found a trade partner with the Yankees, who were offering prized minor league catcher Jesus Montero. Double-A infielder David Adams was also in the deal, but the Mariners raised a red flag over an ankle injury to Adams. Seattle did not want to take a gamble and, reports said, asked for a substitute.
The Yankees refused and that changed the course of the season. While some thought that not gaining Lee at that time was no big deal—why give up anyone for him when he surely would come over as a free agent after the season—Lee went to the Texas Rangers and the course of Yankee history was altered.
If Lee had become a Yankee, who knows what would have transpired. He might have pitched them into the World Series. His wife would never have been exposed to the unruly behavior of some fans at Yankee Stadium, one reason cited when Lee decided to go to the Phillies.
Lee might have enjoyed his stay in New York and decided to remain with the Yanks.
This all happened, it seems, because the Yankees would not substitute one minor league player for another.
Montero might become a great player, but he is still a prospect and may not figure into the Yankees’ plans this season--or at all. If Cashman could find an ace pitcher today, Montero would be gone tomorrow.
Adams, a good hitter at the minor league level, is a second baseman in an organization that has All-Star Robinson Cano.
For never making the deal, it seems the Yanks still paid a heavy price.