MLB Trade Rumors: 5 Landing Spots for Cliff Lee

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5 Teams That Could Trade for P Cliff Lee

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Cliff Lee is the subject of MLB Trade Rumors nearly every season. It's not what you'd expect from a guy with a career 3.56 ERA, and an average of 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings, but he always seems to be on the trading block. This year could be no different, but a lot of it will be determined by the Philadelphia Phillies' performance over the next two months.

Lee himself, is holding steady in 2013, compiling a 4-2 record, and an impressive 2.83 ERA, so far. Still, it's inevitable if the Phillies sputter, that we'll hear Lee's name come up in deadline deal talks. The 12-year veteran would be a great addition for a team looking to add a legitimate playoff starter.

But there's a pretty good chance that Lee could stay put if the Phillies stay close in the NL East. Right now they're 3.5 games back of the first place Atlanta Braves. Most project the Braves will distance themselves as the season goes on, and that Philly will likely be left playing for a wild-card spot. But, you never know. So far, the NL East is pretty wide open, with the exception of Miami.

As far as trade bait goes, it doesn't get a whole lot better than a guy like Lee. The Phillies could be assured of a couple solid prospects and financial relief, with the dealing of the talented left-hander.

It's too early to tell if Lee will be on the move, and with Roy Halladay out of the mix, his services are no doubt needed in Philly. But, if the team does fall flat on its face, here are five teams that could come calling for Lee:

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Texas Rangers

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USA Today Sports

Much to the surprise of many across the league, the Rangers are in first place in the AL West. If they can keep up their current pace, they should no doubt be in playoff contention by the time the trade deadline rolls around. You can't rule out a Lee-return to Texas. He's had success there before, and his name came up as recent as 2012, in possible return deal.

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Cleveland Indians

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USA Today Sports

Another former home of Lee, the Indians could be in the mix to re-add the veteran lefty. The new-look Indians are off to a good start under Terry Francona, and they figure to stay in contention throughout the season in the AL Central. But it seems the central could be one of the most highly contested divisions in baseball. If Cleveland needs another arm to put them over the top late in the season, Lee could be just the man for the job.

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New York Yankees

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USA Today Sports

Let's face it, the Yankees are always on the radar to sign any big name. Especially when it comes to pitchers, you can never rule out the Yankees. We all know that Lee almost landed in the Big Apple once before, but it fell through due to an injury to one of the prospects involved. New York is currently atop the AL East, and Lee could no doubt again be on their radar when it comes time to make a playoff push.

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San Francisco Giants

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USA Today Sports

You'd have to consider the Giants a prime candidate to land Lee, as they always seem to try to make something happen at the deadline. So far they're right where most expected, sitting atop the NL West, but it appears the Diamondbacks may give them a run for the division crown. Lee is capable of being the pitcher that puts the Giants over the top, again.

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Boston Red Sox

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USA Today Sports

I think the Red Sox are the most likely team to acquire Lee if he becomes available. They reportedly inquired about him at the winter meetings, so there's a good chance they'll be interested again come deadline time. The Red Sox are once again in a battle with the Yankees atop the AL East, and I can see a scenario where the two teams bid it out for Lee's services.

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