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Though the Chicago Cubs managed to pull out a shocking victory last night – against the mighty Pirates, no less – there is still reason to believe this team is not built for a playoff push. If true, it’s time to start considering which players can be unloaded, and which teams are interested.

According to theĀ New York Post, the Mets are looking for a starting pitcher, and they’ve got lefties on the brain.

[E]ven if the Mets can outbid other suitors, such as the Twins, for [Cliff] Lee, it would still be up to Mets ownership to approve giving up prospects for a rental and agree to add a nice bit of payroll. Doubts persist within the organization whether the Wilpons really will accept those terms.

So it remains possible the Mets will have to lower their rotation scope. Multiple sources tell me that despite having been tied to Houston’s Roy Oswalt and Cleveland’s Fausto Carmona, the Mets have little interest in either righty. The Cubs’ Ted Lilly, a lefty also in his walk year, is more to the Mets’ liking from the not-Lee category.

While it is not surprising that the Mets would prefer Lilly to guys like Oswalt or Carmona, it is surprising to read that they’re interested in Lilly yet think they cannot get Lee because of payroll and prospect concerns.

Both concerns will come with Lilly – Lee is making $9 million this year, Lilly is making $12 million. Lilly isn’t pitching as well as Lee (few are), but his ERA has consistently hovered around 3.00, and will certainly cost an acquiring team a nice prospect or two.

Lilly will undoubtedly come cheaper, but if payroll and prospect concerns are so damning to the Mets’ pursuit of Lee, I can’t see how they’d be willing to put together a reasonable package for Lilly, who might be the second most attractive pitcher on the market.

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