La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Cliff Lee watch: Rumblings from the Evil Empire

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 9, 2010 - 11:53 AM

Here's the latest reason why the Yankees can never be counted out when any top-tier player is available.

According to the New York Post, the Yankees are close to dealing with Seattle for Twins target Cliff Lee. While the Twins have top catching prospect Wilson Ramos, the Yankees can construct a package around their top catching prospect Jesus Montero.

It was believed that the Yankees were content with their starting rotation but now it appears that they want to add to the 1-2 punch of lefties C.C, Sabathia and Andy Pettitte. Sabathia and Lee, former Cleveland Indians, would be reunited.

There has been speculation recently that the Twins have discussed sending Ramos and righthander Kevin Slowey as part of a deal for Lee, although that has not been confirmed  by us. Mariners scouts have been checking out Twins minor leaguers lately.

This development could stir other interested teams into action. Would the Twins be willing to offer another top prospect in addition to Lee? History says no. If this goes down, there's a good chance the Twins would focus on Houston righthander Roy Oswalt, who would like to pitch for a contender.

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