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Cleveland Indians

The latest on Lee and Martinez rumors

By jcfortun Published: July 23, 2009

As of this morning, ESPN's Jayson Stark is calling Cliff Lee "quasi-available." The Indians don't exactly want to trade him, but they still may if the return is strong enough.

Tampa Bay is the latest team to me mixed in with the Lee rumors, according to John Paul Morosi of Fox Sports.

It is rumored that the Indians would like to obtain right-handed pitching prospect Wade Davis from the Rays, although Tampa Bay has been balking at adding him to a deal, Morosi reports.

Davis is 6-foot-5, 220 pound right-hander who is 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA at Triple A Durham this season. He has struck out 103 and walked 47 in 114.2 innings.

Baseball America called him one of the "premier power pitching prospects in the game" before the season started. Morosi writes that davis is rated "one notch below" Braves prospect Tommy Hanson and Red Sox  pitcher Clay Buchholz.

Tampa Bay has the young talent to make the deal and the major league talent to go to the World Series if Lee is acquired, writes Dave Cameron at Fangraphs.

Sports Illustrated reporter Jon Heyman Tweets that there is a better chance Indians catcher Victor Martinez could be moving on (I love the grammar used on Twitter):

more apt to trade martinez than lee. altho, catcher v-mart's replacement carlos santana isnt due up 'til 2011.

Heyman has now turned to complete sentences when discussing the issue on his blog. Although, the Red Sox just traded for Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche, they are still pursuing Martinez, Heyman writes.

Fox Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal writes the opposite, the Red Sox would be all but eliminated from obtaining Martinez by adding LaRoche.

The Indians, however, continue to speak with clubs that are interested in both Martinez and left-hander Cliff Lee.

"Things are changing rapidly," says one source with knowledge of the Indians' thinking.

The Phillies, Rays, Brewers and Dodgers are on Lee, and the Rangers have expressed continued interest.

UPDATE (2:55): The Rays are also interested in Martinez and have the prospects to get him, according to Jon Heyman.

While Lee and Martinez would both upgrade the Rays, I have to wonder if the  Martinez to the Rays talk is legit or fabricated. Acquiring Martinez makes sense as Rays starting catcher Dioner Navarro has struggled all season, but the top player in the Martinez talks so far has been the Red Sox.

Heyman reported yesterday that Boston may be waiting for the price to come down on Martinez.

Could another AL East rival make them rethink that position while driving up the price?

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