The Rangers have called the Mariners to inquire about the availability of Cliff Lee, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Citing industry sources, Sullivan reports that the Mariners are one of many teams the Rangers have contacted in their search for starting pitching.
Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine confirms the team's interest in making a deal, while reiterating that nothing is imminent:
"We've had some preliminary discussions with clubs.... But to compel teams to move this far ahead of the [July 31st] trade deadline, it would take a very attractive package. We're still in the inventory stage and the information-gathering stage rather than the execution phase."
We heard earlier today that the Mariners have received a few calls from teams interested in Lee, but that the M's aren't ready yet to consider trading away their ace. According to Sullivan, the Rangers pursued the left-hander aggressively last summer as well, before the Indians traded him to Philadelphia.
Texas has also frequently been linked to the Roy Oswalt sweepstakes lately, though SI.com's Jon Heyman said earlier this week that acquiring the Astros' ace looks like an "extreme long shot." Still, it looks as though the Rangers hope to add a major piece to their starting rotation, if it's financially possible.