M's GM mum on who's inquired about Lee
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik did not deny Tuesday that he is talking with other clubs about left-hander Cliff Lee.
But, even though the Mariners are in last place, 11-1/2 games behind the Rangers in the A.L. West, Zduriencik is not yet willing to concede.
“I can’t prevent anyone from calling me and asking me,” Zduriencik said. “That’s what happens. Have I taken names? No, I have not done that yet.
“People call. The thing is, they don’t want to embarrass you and say, ‘You’re out of it.’ People are courteous. They say, ‘If you’re thinking of doing something, give me a call.’
“Right now, he’s part of this club. Who knows what’s going to happen here? We have two more in St. Louis, then we’re home against Cincinnati and the Cubs, with Cliff and Felix (Hernandez) pitching twice.”
“Funny things happen. I’m not willing to wave the white flag just yet.”
Zduriencik, however, acknowledged that the homestand against the Reds and Cubs “probably will determine a lot.”
Lee, who turns 32 on Aug. 30, is a free agent at the end of the season. His record in nine starts is only 4-3, but his 2.88 ERA ranks sixth in the American League. He has struck out 60 and walked only four in 68 2/3 innings.
The Mets, Yankees, Rangers, Dodgers and Reds are among the clubs that have either shown interest or are expected to show interest in Lee.
Zduriencik, though, said he is not yet ready to advance the conversations.
“I say, ‘Look, I appreciate the phone call, but what we’re trying to do is get back in this thing,’” Zduriencik said. “We could be a week away. If something happens to the clubs in front of you . . .
“Texas’ pitching is vulnerable. They’ll be pitching in the heat coming up. All of a sudden if they have a bad week and we have a good week, you’re looking at the thing a whole lot differently. That’s what our hope is.”