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Tribe ready to shuffle Lee off to Buffalo?

Leepic_ii Indians left-hander Cliff Lee got rocked again Thursday night in the Tribe's 14-9 loss to the Red Sox and speculation is wild this morning in the Cleveland media that Lee -- owner of a three-year, $14-million contract extension signed last season -- is about to become the highest-paid member of the Buffalo Bisons.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer pointed out Lee has minor-league options left  and scored no points by doffing his cap to booing fans when he left the mound Thursday. The Lake County News-Herald even went so far as to use this headline on today's story " -- Lee gets Buffaloed."

Now all the Aaron Laffey intrigue makes sense. The Indians wanted to cut Laffey's pitch count Sunday so he would start again for Buffalo Thursday -- putting him on the same day as Lee, who had melted down Saturday at Texas and had a clubhouse blowout with catcher Victor Martinez afterward.

With Laffey and Lee now on the same day, it thus makes it easy for the Tribe to do a quick Laffey-for-Lee trade and plug Laffey into the rotation Tuesday or Wednesday against Texas. But the plan would only go into motion if Lee blew up Thursday, which he did. The Indians' constant denials that nothing was up was in deference to their hope that Lee would find himself against the Red Sox. Didn't happen.

I'm betting Lee is with the Bisons in Syracuse sometime this weekend.

---Mike Harrington

(Photo: Associated Press)

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