I read from two different sources that make it sound like the Rangers may be the front runner in the chase for Cliff Lee. Here is a tweet from Jack Curry from YES:
People who have spoken to Yankee officials said they have expressed a bit of skepticism about signing Lee.
28 minutes ago via Mobile Web
I also read on ESPN that Rangers manager Ron Washington is feeling optimistic about Cliff Lee returning to the Rangers. Here is what he said, according to the article:
Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington has a gut feeling about Cliff Lee.
"That he'll be here," he said Saturday.
You can chalk it up to a slow news day in baseball, but after the whirlwind that occured after the Red Sox signing Carl Crawford late Wednesday night, Lee has had time to ponder exactly where he wants to pitch for the next 7 seasons. Pitching closer to home has its advantages, and he may just be weighing that more heavily than pitching on the biggest stage in baseball-Yankee Stadium.
I was listening to MLB radio on XM on my way to pick up some Indian food last night, and heard Jeff Joyce and Jeff Nelson putting a negative spin on signing Lee. They apparently were trying to drum up callers, which I understand, but signing Lee will greatly improve the chances of the Yankees or Rangers to making it to the World Series in 2011. I can see where some say that a 7 year contract is just too much for a 32 year old pitcher. I can't dispute that, but for the next 3-4 years, Lee should be one of the better starting pitchers in baseball.
I will probably rank him in the top 5-6 starting pitchers for 2011 when I get to those rankings.
Update (Sunday 10:58am):
From Buster Olney's blog post this morning:
The Yankees think it's far from a slam dunk that they sign Clff Lee. One of their executives told a general manager from another team that he figures their chances stand at 50-50 -- and if they lose out, they'll probably pursue bullpen and bench help. And odds are that they won't pursue Zack Greinke, out of concern about how he would adapt to the New York market.
And now they won't pursue Greinke if they don't win the Lee sweepstakes?