Cliff Lee is not a Yankee largely because the Yanks did not want to substitute another minor league player for one who turned out to have a broken foot.
Here’s a bit more on the deal that never happened. Ken Davidoff already informed us that the Seattle Mariners had issues with Trenton Double-A infielder David Adams being part of New York’s package for Lee in July.
On May 22, Adams went down with what was originally diagnosed as a high ankle sprain. He did not play the rest of the season at Trenton or anywhere else.
It could not be learned when the Yankees determined Adams had sustained a fracture, but he had not played for six weeks when the Yankees were completing negotiations with Seattle for Lee around July 9.
Will Smith, general manager of Trenton said all injury matters are handled by the major league club and he had no details on Adams’ injury. ``We solely focus on the business side of things, ‘’ he said on Minday. ``The player development side is all handled by the Yankees. All decisions, everything.’’
No one is suggesting that the Yankees knowingly tried to trade a player with a broken foot, but as it turned out, the Mariners were right to refuse Adams and Cashman, as Davidoff pointed out, did not want to substitute Ivan Nova or Eduardo Nunez.
Nova and Nunez aren’t on the postseason roster and Lee could be the star of the ALCS before it is over. Why would Nova or Nunez be untouchable as a replacement for Adams considering what the Yankees were getting in return with a former Cy Young Award winner?
Cashman had every reason to go after Lee as A.J. Burnett and Javier Vazquez were struggling in the rotation. Why he would not substitute either minor leaguer is puzzling. Nova ultimately replaced Vazquez and did a decent job, but that spot could have been filled by Lee.
If Lee plays a big role in preventing the Yankees from going to the World Series, it will be a big negative on Cashman’s resume even if he signs Lee this winter as a free agent.