"The Rangers may do something crazy when it comes to Lee, but they won't do something insane." - T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
What on Earth does that even mean? That they won't outbid the Evil Empire? I hate to be critical, but DUH. Even if the Rangers front office had half a mind to try to outbid the Yankees, such a thing is impossible (as Red Sox fans will remember). Yes, the Rangers have a lucrative new television contract... but the Yankees OWN their own network, and in the biggest market in the country.
Nolan Ryan, at least, fully understands just how hard it will be to retain Lee, but their best bet may lie with the three rules of real estate: location, location, location.
New York taxes and the cost of living (even if Lee should choose to live in New Jersey) will add up very quickly. The Rangers can offer the ace millions less than the Yankees, and the adjusted gross value after taxes and all that jazz will probably still be higher if the fireballer stays in Texas.
And, apparently Lee's wife was no fan of New York Yankees faithful:
Perhaps the Rangers' greatest sales pitch simply was having Kristen sit in the visiting family section at Yankee Stadium during the playoffs. She says there were ugly taunts. Obscenities. Cups of beer thrown. Even fans spitting from the section above. "The fans did not do good things in my heart," Kristen says. "When people are staring at you, and saying horrible things, it's hard not to take it personal." (Via Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY)
There's also the fact that both Kristen and Cliff Lee's families live a forty-minute flight away from Arlington, in Little Rock, Arkansas, and the couple recently purchased a home in the city.
Of course, the Yankees will have Lee's friend and former teammate, CC Sabathia, looking to recruit him, and the Bronx Bombers have the resources to commit more money and years to any offer they give.
The Rangers are quietly attempting to woo Lee - they haven't made any well-publicized treks across the country, but they're determined to give this their best shot, and prepared to offer him more money than any Ranger since A*Rod (remember him?).
Rangers second-baseman Ian Kinsler wants Lee to stay in Texas: "In the offseason, I'm probably going to call his phone, oh, a couple of hundred times."
You do that, Ian... Personally, I want Cliff Lee in Arlinton for a long time to come. Actually, in an ideal world, he would go to the National League, so I wouldn't have to see him mow down my boys a few times every summer - but I'll take Texas.
Come on, Jon Daniels.... Make it happen. Do something CRAZY! But not insane.