Cliff Lee Rumors
If you were around twitter tonight, you saw an interesting series of rumors about Cliff Lee and the Twins. Right about the time the first pitch started, chatter began that an unnamed Detroit radio station was reporting that Lee to the Twins was a done deal. In general, I don’t take reports like this very seriously, and advised anyone from reading too much into that sketchy, unsourced report. Sure enough, the Twins had issued a denial within a half hour or so.
Then, about an hour later, Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated said that talks between the two clubs were getting interesting, putting a little more teeth to the rumors of a potential deal heating up. A while after that, Jeff Fletcher of AOL chipped in with a rumored offer, saying that he’s heard that the Twins have offered OF prospect Aaron Hicks and C prospect Wilson Ramos for Lee.
Fletcher has credibility, and combined with the earlier report from Heyman, it’s likely that there’s some fire behind this smoke. Will it lead to a deal? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s the kind of offer that could make this happen sooner than later.
Ramos is the guy who has been mentioned prominently because he’s a catcher and has already reached the majors, but Hicks would be the guy who makes this deal work. He was the 14th overall selection in the 2008 draft, and while he’s not close to the majors at age 20, he’s got some serious upside. He’s a switch-hitting premium athlete with five tool potential who is already showing a decent grasp of the strike zone at a young age. He’s not a polished product by any means, as he doesn’t currently possess big time power and he strikes out too much, but the natural abilities are there for him to become a star.
Baseball America ranked Hicks as the 19th best prospect in baseball before the season started. Keith Law agreed, putting him at the same spot on his list. When Law updated his list last week, he put Hicks at #9 among guys currently in the minors.
Ramos is a decent prospect who could compete with Adam Moore to figure out who would be the team’s catcher of the future. He might not be any better than Moore, but having two decent young catching prospects isn’t a bad thing. Hicks, though, could be a star – a center fielder who can hit, field, and run. He’d require some patience, but the long term value makes this an offer that Jack Z would have to seriously consider if it was really on the table.