You can officially add the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers to the list of teams attached to Ted Lilly trade rumors. Leading off with the Tigers, Jayson Stark says they’ve contacted the Cubs to discuss the left-hander.
The Tigers have “inquired” about Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly, according to a source familiar with those discussions. But the clubs haven’t reached the “let’s-get-moving” stage, the source said.
A second source told ESPN the Magazine’s Buster Olney that the two teams haven’t spoken about Lilly in over a week.
With Cliff Lee off the market, Lilly has moved to the top of many teams’ available-starters list. And unlike the cases of Roy Oswalt and Dan Haren — two starters with heavy price tags who appear unlikely to be moved — the Cubs have let interested clubs know that Lilly, who will be a free agent this winter, is very available. They’re speaking to a number of teams, but none of those teams appeared to be closing in on a deal for the 34-year-old left-hander, as of Monday afternoon.
The Tigers have been looking around for one more difference-making starter. But they’ve also been shopping for a veteran infielder who can play shortstop. It’s known they’ve had interest in the past in the Cubs’ Ryan Theriot, who is also available. So it’s possible a Lilly deal could be expanded to include Theriot, although there are no indications that package is being actively discussed at the moment.
A Lilly-Theriot package for a couple decent prospects is probably a best case scenario, as far as the Cubs are concerned.
As for the Yankees, with Andy Pettitte on the shelf for as many as six weeks, and with Cliff Lee off the board to Texas, the team might be interested in a guy like Ted Lilly.
Of course, we all know that isn’t the way the Yankees do business when crises like this arise, in which their most consistent starting pitcher suddenly goes down – likely for a while – as Pettitte did in limping off the mound with two on and one out in the third inning, wincing in pain from what was later pronounced a Grade I strained left groin. Just because it was Hal Steinbrenner on the scene in the front office Sunday, and not his dad, it didn’t mean Brian Cashman wasn’t already on the case, dialing up the Arizona Diamondbacks about Dan Haren, the Chicago Cubs about Ted Lilly and the Cleveland Indians about Fausto Carmona.
You’d have to believe that a team like the Yankees would exhaust an avenue like Dan Haren before turning to Ted Lilly. Then again, even the Yankees have to be cognizant of long-term contract obligations, and Lilly offers one upside over Haren – Lilly’s a free agent after this season.