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Report: Twins offer top prospects Ramos and Hicks for Cliff Lee

Big League Stew

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The world must be getting closer to a Cliff Lee(notes) trade, because now we're hearing some names.

Twitter was abuzz Monday night after Jeff Fletcher of AOL Fanhouse reported that the Minnesota Twins have offered up catcher Wilson Ramos(notes) and outfielder Aaron Hicks — who Baseball America ranks as the organization's top two prospects — for Lee.

Such a haul sounds a little too good to be true for the Mariners, who are expected to move Lee — an impending free agent — before the non-waiver trade deadline at the end of the month.

If the M's were to get both prospects, the Twins probably would want more than Lee. Maybe closer David Aardsma(notes), too?

Such a trade would solidify the Twins as favorites in the AL Central. And if they get into the playoffs, even though it's a roll of the dice, they can win them.

Regardless, the Twins have to ask themselves:

• How much would the acquisition of Lee help them win the World Series?

• Are they willing to pay that price for what's probably one shot at glory with Lee, who could command $20 million a season on the open market this winter?

Hicks is a 20-year-old outfield prospect who had a .900 OPS in rookie ball but hasn't performed as well at Class A Beloit the past 1 1/2 seasons. Baseball America says Hicks has the best strike-zone judgment and is the best athlete in the system, and projects him as a big-league right-fielder by 2013.

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Ramos, just 22, already has sipped coffee in the majors (earlier this season, when Joe Mauer(notes) was sidelined) and projects to be the best power hitter in the system.

But where's Ramos (right) going to play with Mauer in the way for the next ... for a while? That makes him both expendable and appealing in a deal for Lee.

Lee might be the best pitcher in the majors, but even the best can't guarantee a World Series championship. He was great for the Phillies last season and they still finished second to the Yankees.

Of course, if the Phillies never trade for Lee, they probably don't get to another Series. They'll probably tell you Lee was worth it.

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Follow Dave on Twitter — @AnswerDave

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