Lukewarm Stove: White Sox Join Mets in Interest in Ted Lilly

Add the Chicago White Sox to the list of teams potentially interested in Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Ted Lilly, should the Cubs decide to sell.

Sources say the Sox have kicked around the idea of pursuing Lilly. That would give them three lefties in their rotation with Buehrle and Danks, but there are some in the Sox’ brain trust who worry more about Lilly getting clobbered by the home-run ball at U.S. Cellular Field. That’s always one of the first topics discussed among Sox brass when considering a pitcher.

Lilly relies on flyball outs, which also can be pretty risky at Wrigley Field, where he has a career record of 26-16 and 3.65 ERA in 55 starts. The sample size is much smaller on the South Side, where Lilly is 2-0 with a 4.76 ERA in three career starts at U.S. Cellular Field.

But there are other factors to consider. Lilly is in the final half-season of a four-year, $40 million contract that provides veto rights for a trade. He is earning $12 million this season, so he would come at a decent price.

Plus, he has the right makeup for a playoff push. Over the last three seasons, Lilly has lowered his ERA after the All-Star break — something all potential suitors are discussing these days.

And there has been plenty of chatter recently about Lilly. CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.

When Jake Peavy went down, you had to know that the White Sox – the hottest team in baseball – would enter the market for a starting pitcher.

As for the Mets, they remain interested in Lilly, and talks with the Cubs have reached the point where prospect names are being circulated.

The New York Mets, once considered to have the inside track for Oswalt, have turned their attention recently to Lilly — and the Cubs are seriously considering their overtures. The Cubs, sources say, have been doing their homework on three key Mets prospects — left-hander Robert Carson and right-handers Kyle Allen and Jeurys Familia.

None of the three are top prospects in the Mets system, but neither are they minor league filler. Prior to the season, the three were ranked 14th (Allen), 15th (Familia) and 16th (Carson) in the Mets system according to Baseball America – which system was, itself, ranked 21st in baseball. For reference, the Cubs were ranked 18th.

All three pitchers are in High A ball right now, pitching just ok. Carson is 21, and Allen and Familia are 20.

Whether the Cubs are looking at all three as a possible return for Lilly, or just one or two, remains to be seen. It’s hard to imagine that just one of these guys is all the return the Cubs could get for Lilly. But, being realistic, expecting much more than this would be a mistake. Lilly is a free agent after the year, is advancing in age, has relatively poor peripheral numbers this year, and has had back-to-back terrible outings.

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Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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