Buzz: Mets interested in Lee and Atkins

In his latest Rumblings & Grumblings column for ESPN.com, Jayson Stark reports the Mets are among teams who have called the Indians about RHP Cliff Lee.

Lee is 4–6 with a 2.92 ERA in 16 starts for the Indians, during which he has 79 strike outs and 26 walks in 111 innings.

According to Stark, however, the Indians have said they would need to be overwhelmed to move Lee.

…i.e., Bobby Parnell, Fernando Martinez, and so on, and so on you know the drill

Lee won the American League Cy Young Award last season, and is eligible to be a free agent at the end of next season.

…i get the impression Omar Minaya intends to make at least one or two deals, and has earmarked certain players, who other teams have interest in, for a deal, and it’s basically a matter of getting biggest bang for his buck… i believe they’ll take on salary, but also wouldn’t mind trading some away in a separate deal

Stark also says the Mets have looked in to Rockies 1B-3B Garret Atkins, who hit .293 in 1,200 at bats the previous two seasons, but who his batting just .216 in 61 games this season.

He is hitting just .254 in games away from Coors Field in his career, however he’s hit as more home runs away, 48, as he’s hit at home, 47.

atkins would be an interesting hitter for Citi Field, because he’s disciplined and puts the ball in play… he’d be an interesting play, in that he’d cost the Mets very little, i believe… also, he’s turning the corner in his season, from what i can gather… people in colorado say he looks like the hitter of old, compared to his at bats from April and May…

Nevertheless, Stark writes, “From a pure baseball fit, the Mets appear to rank Aubrey Huff and Nick Johnson ahead of Atkins.”

Atkins will earn $7 million this season; he is again eligible for arbitration next season, after which he is a free agent.

Stark also writes about the Phillies struggles at home; as well as the on-fire Rockies; the Angels bullpen; Jimmy Rollins’s season-long slump; Scott Kazmir and Tampa’s pitching; Chicago’s interest in Mark DeRosa; the future of Manny Acta; the demands of Pedro Martinez, who is still seeking a the prorated equiviliant of $5 million; and other topics from around MLB.