Courtesy of a link shared by Rob Neyer of ESPN.com on his SweetSpot blog, we have access to one journalist’s take on the behind-the-scenes dealings between Seattle and New York in the failed Cliff Lee negotiations.
According to this writer’s blog, once the Mariners decided that a Jesus Montero/David Adams trade wouldn’t work because of Adams’s broken foot, they amended their request and asked Cashman to substitute the injured Adams for either Eduardo Nunez or Ivan Nova.
Any time you read a story in a newspaper — especially one that is of a revelatory nature — you always have to consider the source and the motivation behind the revelations. I mention this because this particular journalist (Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times) got into a very public dispute with the Mariners over the summer surrounding the aftermath of the Cliff Lee trade. Specifically, the dispute was over claims made by the Mariners front office about what they knew (and when they found out) about the legal issues of one of the Rangers’ pitchers’ acquired in the Lee deal*.
For that reason, I urge a degree of caution before jumping to the conclusions that some may jump to in reading this story. While on its face it might seem like Brian Cashman walked away from a potential deal for Cliff Lee because he balked at including either Nunez or Nova into the deal, the truth is we just don’t know for certain. Considering Geoff Baker’s history with the M’s organization over the whole Cliff Lee deal, it’s hard to know for sure what is true and what isn’t, or, more importantly, what is written to embarrass the disputing parties and what is written to report hard evidence.
That being said, assuming the report is to be taken at face value, I’m not pleased. If given the choice between Jesus Montero – a hitting stud without a true defensive position — for the next several years or Cliff Lee for the remainder of the 2010 season (and the inside track to resigning him) I know what I would’ve done. That’s not to discount the impact that Jesus Montero may have in the big leagues. It’s more a reflection of my opinion on Ivan Nova and the limited utility I see from him as a member of the Yankees. I’d never let Ivan Nova (or Eduardo Nunez) stand in the way of acquiring Cliff Lee, even at the high cost of trading Montero out of the system.
*An excellent synopsis of the whole Geoff Baker-Mariners dispute can be found on Dave Cameron’s U.S.S. Mariner blog.