According to Matt Cerrone of, the Mets and Mariners have been having talks about LHP Cliff Lee. Right now it doesn’t sound like they are close to a deal as the Mariners are insisting that the Mets include LHP Jon Niese in the deal, and GM Omar Minaya is resisting.

A rotation with Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, and Lee would be pretty impressive, but Lee is going to be a free agent at the end of the season and the word is that the Mets are going to make a play for him.

If they’re willing to do that including Niese in a deal seems a little short sighted. The Mets would certainly compete with Santana, Pelfrey, and Lee at the top of their rotation, but it wouldn’t make them World Series favorites. Having that rotation with Niese included next season would be a lot more impressive.

It might be possible that the Mets could get Lee without giving up Niese. Cerrone reported that the Mariners like the Mets prospects and if that is the case and they become more motivated to deal Lee the closer it gets to the trade deadline they could back away from their demands to include Niese in a deal.

If the Mets could somehow include Bobby Parnell in the deal instead of Niese they would probably more seriously consider the deal. If they could maybe get a window to extend Lee’s contract that, might be worth it too. That would be a good way to keep him away from the Yankees, Angels, or Red Sox, three teams that could go after Lee this offseason.

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