Rangers Meet With Cliff Lee
A contingent from the Texas Rangers was in Little Rock, Ark. on Monday to hold their first meeting with Lee about re-signing him as a free agent. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg, president Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels made the trip to the neighboring state to see the man who helped them reach the first World Series in the history of the organization.
Daniels explained the purpose of the trip at the GM Meetings in Orlando Tuesday.
"We put everything on the back burner when he was with us (during the season)," he said. "We didn't want any distractions. ... It's just that time of the year where we need to have those conversations. Typically, when it's your player, you've already had some baseline conversations. We hadn't had those. ... I think he's got good choices and we're certainly one of them."
That trip comes about a week after the Yankees made a similar pilgrimage to Little Rock to make clear their own interest in acquiring Lee to go with CC Sabathia at the front-end of their rotation.
The only other team that's been publicly mentioned as a suitor for Lee's services has been the Washington Nationals and there aren't too many people who think they are in the mix with the two teams that met in the American League Championship Series.
All of the trips to Arkansas are little more than formalities in the process. Lee's agent, Darek Braunecker, has said that he doesn't expect to have a deal done until December. Braunecker also said that there are other teams interested, but it is hard to say at this point if that's true or if he's merely playing the mystery team card that Scott Boras has dealt so many times in the past.
He also told Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com that he does not anticipate Lee repaying either the Yankees or Rangers with a trip to their town. There wouldn't seem to be any reason for such a visit. Lee's plenty familiar with both places, and the answer at this point is going to come from the amount of money on the table rather than any song and dance put on by the bidding teams.