The Reds and Mariners have discussed a trade involving Seattle left-hander Cliff Lee, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports, and the Twins reportedly are making a big push as well.
Officials from Cincinnati and Seattle spoke last month when the teams met for an interleague series out West.
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty on Monday didn’t deny that talks have taken place.
"I will say this: We’re looking at any way we can to improve the club," Jocketty told reporters. "To improve the club, it would have to be a pretty significant player to do that. We have a lot of good things going. We don’t want to disrupt that."
Lee would qualify as a significant addition. The 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner is 8-3 with a 2.34 ERA for the last-place Mariners, despite missing the first month of the season with an injury. He can become a free agent after the season, and Seattle is expected to deal him before the July 31 nonwaiver trading deadline.
The Enquirer speculated that first base prospect Yonder Alonso, a 2008 Reds first-round draft pick, would have to be included in a package of prospects to get Lee. Alonso is blocked in Cincinnati by Joey Votto.
A Detroit radio station reported Monday night that the Twins had finalized a deal for Lee, but the Twins quickly denied the story. SI.com’s Jon Heyman, however, reported things are getting "interesting" between the teams and that the discussions "have possibilities."
Both Heyman and AOL FanHouse’s Jeff Fletcher report Seattle wants Twins catching prospect Wilson Ramos as part of the deal. Ramos is blocked by Joe Mauer. Fletcher also reported that Minnesota may also have offered outfielder Aaron Hicks, Minnesota’s first-round pick in 2008.