Mariners Pitcher Cliff Lee Could Be Traded Soon Sources Say Mariners pitcher Cliff Lee will probably be traded before the July 31 trade deadline, but a deal for the left-hander may get done even sooner than the end of July.

FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reported Saturday that the M’s are starting to shop Lee pretty hard, despite what they’re saying publicly.

Rosenthal writes that Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik told him that he believes the Mariners still have enough pitching to contend this season, and aren’t ready to give up on the season yet.

Rosenthal, however, cites executives of two other teams who have told him that the Mariners are trying to move Lee sooner than later, to try to avoid having to keep paying Lee, in addition to trying to keep Lee healthy. Lee is making $9 million this year and will become a free agent at season’s end.

The sources speculated that Lee could be on the move within the next week or so.

Rosenthal likened the situation to the 2008 season when the Indians shipped pitcher CC Sabathia to the Brewers three weeks before the deadline for the same reasons.

The Mariners, a popular pick to breakthrough this season and challenge for the AL West crown, have been nothing short of a disappointment this year. Heading into play Saturday, the M’s are in the AL West basement with a 30-43 record, trailing the division-leading Rangers by 14 games.

Despite an early-season injury, Lee has been everything the Mariners thought he’d be when they acquired him in the offseason from the Phillies. Lee is 6-3 with a 2.39 ERA to go along with four complete games.

Lee and Felix Hernandez (5-5, 3.28 ERA) have been solid atop the Mariners rotation, but their offensive struggles have been the biggest contributing factor to the team’s poor play.

Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times speculated this week that the Mets and Twins might be the frontrunners for Lee, but ESPN.com also lists the Phillies, Tigers, Red Sox and Rangers are possibilities.