Rangers Notes: Cliff Lee, Vlad, Molina

It was a bittersweet ending for the Rangers last night, but they're still the AL champions.  They're planning to raise payroll, and now it's time to focus on Cliff LeeThe Dallas Morning News has a bunch of quotes from the free agent market's top starter.  This cover-your-bases excerpt implies he'll at least test the market:

This is the first time I've been a free agent and I'm going to see what that's all about. It's an earned right by a player once you get six-plus years, and I'm going to take advantage of that and see where it leads me. I know I've enjoyed it here and I'm never ruling out the possibility of coming back, but I've got to play things out and see how it goes. I know this was a great group of guys, a lot of fun, and I would love to be a part of it next year, but there's so many things that could happen, you never know. There's a lot of things I've got to weigh into that. There's a lot of variables, what's best for my family, that's going to be a huge part of it. I want to be on a winning team. Obviously, this is one of those. We'll see, there's no telling what's going to happen.

Regarding the Rangers' other free agents:

87 Responses to Rangers Notes: Cliff Lee, Vlad, Molina Leave a Reply

  1. rockfordone 5 years ago

    LEE is going to surprise everyone.

    • Brad426 5 years ago

      Everyone who thinks he isn’t going to go where the most money is…

      • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

        If Texas offers him the same or more than the Yankees, he’s staying…Simple as that.

        • Deathstrikr 5 years ago

          you make it sound so simple. You know they are competing with a team who really wants lee and can but as many zeros as they want on a check.

        • moonraker45 5 years ago

          thats if the yankees allow the rangers to offer the same.

        • Pretty big if when you’re competing with the team that has, without a shadow of a doubt, the most financial power in baseball. What the Yankees want, they almost always get.

        • Brad426 5 years ago

          Hey, I’m a (semi) Ranger’s fan so I hope you are right. But typing “it’s as simple as that” at the end of a statement doesn’t necessarily make it so… you don’t know Cliff Lee and what he will do any more than I do. And as others have already stated, not sure Texas can afford to pay what the Yankees almost certainly will.

  2. stl_cards16 5 years ago

    I think Lee is planning on staying in Texas, he just wants to get as much out of them as possible. Last night he was talking about losing in the world series and he said “We are going to use this as motivation next year” You never know, but my gut feeling is he stays in Texas.

    • moonraker45 5 years ago

      He’ll stay if the rangers make a close offer to whats out there.. If the yanks offer him 7/150 and the rangers offer him 5/100.. then there’s no doubt where he’s going.

      • stl_cards16 5 years ago

        Yeah, obviously, but it sounds as if the Rangers are prepared to make a strong offer. I didn’t mean for it to sound like I thought he was staying in Texas no matter what. He is hitting the open market for a reason, but I think he is pretty sure he will be back in Texas, just from the way he sounded last night.

        • The Brewers said the same thing. The press said CC didn’t want to play in NY. We know how that ended up.

          • MB923 5 years ago

            I think what CC said is that he prefers to play on the West Coast, he never said “I don’t want to play in New York”

    • rockfordone 5 years ago

      I agree Texas – for one thing they don’t need a 9M DH. Take that 9 and add 6 or 7 and they have Lee

  3. moonraker45 5 years ago

    I personally think a team off the radar is going to target lee.. a team no one has mentioned in rumours or linked lee to, all of a sudden pulls out a 6/ 130 contract for him and shocks the baseball community

    i mean how many people had chapman going to the reds?

    • I don’t think an off the radar team will get it done for 6/130. Thought they won’t say it publicly, I think the Yanks would be more than willing to go 6/150 if that is what it took.

  4. i think cliff lee is coming to the team who offers him the most money. The Yankees desperatley need him I think they’ll give him a blank check.

    • stl_cards16 5 years ago

      “Desperatley need him” huh? Take a look at every other major league roster besides the Yankees. There are about 28 other teams that “desperatley” need him more than the Yankees

      • thats true but what if pettitte retires. than you have cc, phil hughes and aj. you need 2 more starters

        • moonraker45 5 years ago

          with the way hughes and aj pitched down the stretch, you need 4

  5. unbiasedhomer 5 years ago

    Ah yes, the entitlement class is here. “We’re the Yankees and we’ll get anyone and we deserve everyone just because of who we are and how much money we have.”

    (And yes, I know, not all Yankee fans are that way, but the entitlement class makes even the standard-issue Yankee fan look bad at times.)

    Lee will go where he and his family feel the most comfortable. If that’s in Texas, so be it. If he decides to be a cash whore, so be it.

    • If his family isn’t comfortable in NY, he’ll just buy a new family with all the money the Yankees will give him.

    • stl_cards16 5 years ago

      and if he signs with the someone besides the Yankees we will get to see the likes of “You couldn’t handle New York” “Guess you don’t want to win championships” and “They are going to regret that contract”

    • moonraker45 5 years ago

      i hate the yankees… but at the same time, i’m realistic enough to know that when they have targeting an FA 9.9/10 they get them.

    • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

      Dude really? THis line is so boring.I didn’t read anyone make a statement that we are entitled to Lee. Enitlement usually means a feeling that you deserve something. The Yanks are paying thru the nose for top talent. They pay the cost to be the boss. Don’t know what team you root for but it was the other 29 baseball teams that kept the Rangers afloat and allowed them to collect new talent despite the previous owner leading the team into bankruptcy after the ill advised Arod contract. Add to the fact that while they were in bankruptcy they managed to add Vlad, Colby Lewis, Bengie Molina, Darren Oliver and Jorge Cantu makes the situation even more ironic. Ppl can talk about the $200 mil they spend in talent but no one wants to acknowledge the $80 mil we spend in luxury tax and revenue sharing or how we single handly help some markets to their BEST gate draws, second to maybe opening day, each and every year. So please excuse me if I rather you shut your mouth up about “How bad we are to baseball” as we single handly co-op the payroll for smaller market teams or teams living beyond their means. I would rather you simply say “Thank you” and you tend to your own business as we tend to ours.

  6. dascual 5 years ago

    I wonder about the Angels for Lee as well.

    Pretty sure Monero(sp?) said he would do whatever it took including spending money to get back on top. Could they afford to sign both Crawford and Lee.

    Either way hope he stays away from the East.

  7. j6takish 5 years ago

    My bet is that CJ Wilson, Nelson Cruz, and David Murphy all avoid arbitration and sign team friendly deals. Josh Hamilton will be a bit harder to lock down but they would be idiots to let him go to arbitration They let O’Day, Nippert, and Lowe go to arbitration. Everyone is is gone

    • 0bsessions 5 years ago

      I wouldn’t call them idiots so much as shackled by his wants. If I’m Josh Hamilton, I wait for free agency. Guy is going to make insane mountains of cash when he hits free agency at his current pace. If I’m him, I wait it out unless the Rangers absolutely blow me away.

    • 0bsessions 5 years ago

      I wouldn’t call them idiots so much as shackled by his wants. If I’m Josh Hamilton, I wait for free agency. Guy is going to make insane mountains of cash when he hits free agency at his current pace. If I’m him, I wait it out unless the Rangers absolutely blow me away.

  8. Cliff its been fun, but $100 million is too much for a pitcher at your age, you’ll break down before its all said and done. See Zito, Barry!

  9. Red_Line_9 5 years ago

    Teams would be better off going to the Royals for a Grienke trade.

    • moonraker45 5 years ago

      maybe, maybe not… You only get him for 2 more years.. then Zack will be 28 and a highly touted free agent and barring injury or a complete flop, will probably end up earning more (especially years) then lee will command this year.

      • Red_Line_9 5 years ago

        Realistically, though, the deal Lee will likely get will only be for a couple of productive seasons out of Lee. Asking for more than 2 seasons out of him at this point might be going a little far.

        So on a productivity level it’s either 2 seasons of Cliff Lee or Zach Greinke. Greinke hould hold the most trade value 2 seasons from now if not resigned.

        Lots of moving parts…for sure. I think if I’m a GM..of most clubs….I go after Greinke on the trade market than over pay Cliff Lee fo what he’s done in the past. Lee’s going to get his contract. I just have to wonder how many real suitors there are for him. If it’s the Rangers and Yankees why would they drive up the price on eachother? It fairly certain there are only a handful of teams that would pay Lee’s asking price if they were even inclined to.

        • moonraker45 5 years ago

          only difference is, with lee you lose a draft pick (maybe) and money..

          with grienke you’re prob going to have to send 3 top 5 prospects or a good young player and 2 top prospects, and in 2 years if he walks and you have no players ready to move up to the mlb level you’re in big trouble.

          • Red_Line_9 5 years ago

            It’d be interesting to see if Texas would let Lee walk and deal for Greinke.

    • Jason Klinger 5 years ago

      But Greinke, considering his battles with anxiety, is likely to have a very short list of places he’d be willing to go to. Teams NOT on that list (where fans and media crank up the heat): N.Y., Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston. More likely destination is a winning team with friendly fans and media. Think St. Louis, Minnesota, Cincy, e.g.

      • Red_Line_9 5 years ago

        I tend to share your assessment of Greinke…but I think it’s a little early and presumptious to label him as wanting a low-anxiety organization. I’m not sure if he’s made a statement to that effect. Right now it seems like the internet is trying to read his mindmaybe a little too much.

  10. It will be interesting to see what happens with Bengie Molina. Do the Rangers have any interest in resigning him?

  11. YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

    I agree w/ most that Lee will not be the same pitcher he is now that he will be in 6 years. I don’t think the drop off will be dramatic as some imagine. If he can stay healthy and be the Cliff Lee he is from age 32-35 and then be the equivalent to Andy Pettitte in his later years of the contract then the Yanks will be happy. The great thing about Lee is that he isn’t a “power pitcher” who relys on his FB as his out pitch. The man throws 5 pitches and has excellent mechanics and good control. The drop off should be gradual and he should be able to still get guys out.

    So to say that he won’t be the same player 5 or 6 years from now isn’t a relevation. Figure that the average FA hits the market at age 30. What player, not on steroids, is the same as he was at age 36 as he was at age 30.

    The single handed, and most overlooked reason, for the Yanks to sign Lee is so that they can protect the farm. If the Yanks can run a rotation of Sabathia, Lee, AJ, Pettitte and Hughes out there, they will be competitive. If Pettitte retires then they can allow Nova, Noesi or Phelps to compete for the 5th spot and be able to absorb their growing pains. More importantly with Lee on board the likes of Nova, Noesi, Phelps, Warren, Betances, Brackman and Banuelos can spend the entire year @ AA or AAA and progress at their own pace. On top of that they have Stoneburner, Jose Ramirez and others below A+ knocking on the door.

    • Lee reminds me of Mike Mussina in some ways. Fluid delivery, pinpoint control, not overpowering stuff, both 32 when they hit free agency. Yankees invested six years into Mussina and four of them were good to great, two of them mediocre due to injury, and that turned out to be a fair deal IMO. As long as Lee maintains his command, he could well turn in a comparable performance.

      • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

        Yeah if Lee can pitch as well as Pettitte towards the latter part of the deal then the Yanks would be ok.

      • dascual 5 years ago

        See this goes with my point down below.

        Cliff Lee has been doing it for 3 seasons and is now 32. Mussina had a 10 year track record of consistent success.

        Lee has 3. history show’s he will fall back down to average as quickly as he has risen.

        • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

          You can have your opinion but you’re not basing it on anything factual. 1 season is a small sample size. He’s had 3 consecutive elite seasons. That’s a large sample size. Amazing that ppl have no problem calling Greinke “elite” when he’s only had 1 elite season and 1 decent one himself. The thing that makes me comfortable about Lee and the agine process is that he always had great stuff, not really in terms of velocity but in the quality of his pitches, but was always wild. Now he has pinpoint control and excellent mechanics. Seeing as how he doesn’t BLOW ppl away with a overpowering FB then there’s no reason to suspect that he won’t mature into a great pitcher operating at 90-91 as opposed to 93.

          To say that “history shows” he will fall back down to avg isn’t saying anything inherently factual. I can point to Mussina and Pettitte as guys who learned to thrive in their later years with an avg FB at best and Lee is just as good if not better than both at the same ages.

          • dascual 5 years ago

            Actually I don’t call Grienke ellite.And once again your somebody using Mussina and now Pettitte.Those guys had a track record of doing it all through out their careers.Lee has come into his own during what is considered a pitchers prime years History show’s in baseball that pitchers can come and be elite in their prime years then fall back to average or worse.Baseball is a game of numbers and stats and the numbers and stats say that Lee like other before him will fall back to mere medico-racy by 34 maybe 35.Your contradictory point that he has always had the “stuff” just not the control surprises me. Lee has never been an overpowering pitcher and his past few years have been all do to his pin point control. This is even more reason to assume that all though he will be GREAT and a top 5 pitcher while in his prime your are looking at common thread in baseball, and the concern that he might only be at this level for another year or two is greater with him then say Roy Halladay.Dave Stewart would be a classic example.Al Leiter is anotherand the list goes on and on.Last 3 years great? you bet, but it’s not a track record to compare him laugably to Mussina, Pettitte or even Halladay.

  12. Red_Line_9 5 years ago

    The idea of the Yankees could possibly OVERPAY for anyone is absurd. How do they set their budget in the Bronx? Watching the Yankees in the offseason going after free agents is like watching Bill Gates order from the drive-thu at McDonald’s. They only HAVE a budget if they want to impose one.

  13. dascual 5 years ago

    My only problem with Lee is that he still has only pitched at this level in a small sample size.

    A pitcher like Halladay has been doing it since 2002 or 2003 anyhow and has a track record that would leave me to believe he could do it for another 6. Lee seems to only have been doing it in his “prime” years for a pitcher and that would lead to concern for me that he is more likely to just fall off then he is to keep it up for any more then a season or 2 more.

    • RedbirdRuffian 5 years ago

      Agree with this, It wasn’t that long ago that Lee was a mediocre 3-4 starter with Cleveland. Really risky for any team other than the Yankeees to give him 6 years at $25 mil. Santana who was much more established than Lee, is on a downslide with injuries and losing his fastball, and the Mets will be on hook for years with him.

      • Red_Line_9 5 years ago

        It seems like Lee gets lumped in with Halladay very easily. Maybe because of the deals they were involved in.

        Best thing the few teams in the market for Lee can do is REALIZE the market for him is pretty small and not jack up the bidding as if they are bidding against 29 other teams.

    • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

      I would not say that 3 seasons is a small sample size dude. He’s been an elite pitcher since 2008.

      • dascual 5 years ago

        I disagree, I think 3 years is a small sample size for a pitcher in his prime.There are more cases similar to Lee, in fact both pitching and hitting, all through out baseball that show this to be the case. Many many players have a 3-5 year time frame that they play at an elite level then fall back off the map. Let’s be realistic as well, except for the playoffs in 09, his regular season wasn’t what I would consider at an elite level.I’m just saying history shows that a player such as Lee is probably going to go back to average sooner then later.

        • Red_Line_9 5 years ago

          He’s lefthanded. That creates its own market.

          I would just like to see a contract that justifies the next 5-6 years of his baseball life. One that doesn’t look ridiculous in 2 seasons. One that pays him like the late 30’s pitcher he’ll end up being.

        • Red_Line_9 5 years ago

          He’s lefthanded. That creates its own market.

          I would just like to see a contract that justifies the next 5-6 years of his baseball life. One that doesn’t look ridiculous in 2 seasons. One that pays him like the late 30’s pitcher he’ll end up being.

        • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

          “…..except for the playoffs in 09, his regular season wasn’t what I would consider at an elite level”.

          231 IP, 3.22/1.24, w/ 181 ko/43 walks and only 17 hrs allowed w/ all the trade talks swirling around and switching leagues? How about the 19 starts w/ 7 IP and 3 runs or less allowed? I would say he was a top 10 pitcher in 2009.

          • dascual 5 years ago

            1.24 whip is pretty average.
            Giving up 17 home runs is pretty average
            I believe the 245 hits tied for most given up.

            I think Lee has done a good job the last 3 years. looking completely dominate some nights. But his pin point control hasn’t always been there and I would be nervous that it will continue to be there.

            Of course Yankees fans didn’t listen about AJ Burnett either.

          • His home run rate in 2009 was well below average at 0.7/9, which he essentially repeated this year. Plus the Indians were beyond awful playing behind him in 2009, I watched a bunch of games where he threw great while the defense and bullpen imploded and the offense scored zero runs, and he still posted 6.6 fWAR and 5.0 rWAR on the season.

            Lee may just be a late bloomer; Randy Johnson didn’t cut his walk rate to respectability until he was 29, and of course Jamie Moyer like someone mentioned already, and both pitched very well into their forties. They don’t have much in common except being LHPs who played for Seattle, but there’s certainly precedent.

            If Lee has the chance to pitch WITH Pettitte, he will probably learn a few things about how to be an aging successful LHP with an average/minus fastball and cutter. His control is better than Pettitte’s ever was.

          • dascual 5 years ago

            Yup the certainly is precedent, just more with him falling back down to earth after his prime years.

            Comparing Johnson to Lee is apple and oranges. Your talking about a freak of nature and one of the games best who threw as hard as anyone compared to a 4th round pick you figured out in his prime how to throw a ball into a cup.

            I’m not anti Lee in anyway, just think I could see him returning to a .500 pitcher sooner then later and his contract becoming an albatross.

          • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

            I’m still not following your logic. Power pitchers usually have the most to worry about as they age. Control pitchers who rely on moving the ball in and out, up and down usually mature better. Lee isn’t a power pitcher. His success came when he learned to control his mechanics and master the art of locating his pitches. That shouldn’t go away w/ age. But we shall see.

  14. Lee 5 yr $105 million (rangers)

  15. Red_Line_9 5 years ago

    I’m looking at Cliff Lee’s stat lines. I keep wondering if we’ll see him morph into Jamie Moyer in the near future.

  16. YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

    I would have no problem giving him something like:

    2011- $25 mil
    2012-$25 mil
    2013- $25 mil
    2014- $23 mil
    2015- $20 mil
    2016- $16 mil

    6/$133 avg out to $22.3 mil.

  17. YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

    And if the Yanks want to get jiggy w/ it….

    6/$141 or $23.5 per. Yanks will just have to hope the kids on the farm can provide cheap and quality production for a few years to offset what CC and Lee will make towards the end of their deals.

  18. YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

    And if the Yanks want to get jiggy w/ it….

    6/$141 or $23.5 per. Yanks will just have to hope the kids on the farm can provide cheap and quality production for a few years to offset what CC and Lee will make towards the end of their deals.

  19. I say give him 5 for $18M per – if not then say adios and take the draft picks and go after Carl Crawford and Beltre if he comes up. You can find a veteran (heck I would take Millwood back)

    Line-up 1. Andrus-SS 2. Crawford-CF 3. Hamilton-LF 4. Cruz-RF 5. Kinsler-2B 6. Young-DH 7. Moreland-1B 8. T-Garden/Treanor-C 9. Davis-3B

    Starting Rotation could include any of these – CJ, Colby, Holland, Hunter, Harrison, Feliz, Feldman, FA – Webb, Millwood, Arroyo (if available)

    • 1. why put Young at DH and Davis at 3rd? neither is great defensively, but id rather have Young at 3rd and Murphy DH murphys bat is alot better than Davis…. 2. Crawford makes zero sense… Murphy puts up good enough numbers to play decent 3rd outfielder…. 3. CJ and colby are the only who really proved themselves over the long hall… id rather have Lee than Crawford. 4. Teagarden/Treanor isnt going to workout unless Teagarden finds pop. Look for the rangers to get a FA catcher….

  20. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago


    But I think that if Texas falls out of the Lee sweepstakes…Martin Perez, Derek Holland, Engel Beltre, and Jurrickson Profar are Royals and Zack Greinke will get his antlers…And if Texas gets Lee, Montero, Adams, Betances, and Joba are Royals.

  21. bleachercreature 5 years ago

    hahaha that’s ridiculous, I’m a Yankee fan too, but Lee is really the only player I want. Crawford doesn’t give us enough added value over Gardner to justify such a huge contract, Greinke would cost too many prospects. If Pettitte decides to retire then I think we’ll probably dump the bank on Lee, but if he goes to Texas and Pettitte retires I think the Yankees will panic and throw anyone at the Royals. Personally I’d like to see Chamberlin get another chance to start if either Lee or Pettitte aren’t Yankees. It will be a very tricky situation between these options though

  22. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    Neither is Pavano

  23. Neither is Pavano, who you mentioned earlier.

  24. I’ve got a hard time seeing Greinke waive his NTC to go to a high-pressure situatioin like New York.

  25. moonraker45 5 years ago

    i disagree with both those trades

    I think Grienke declines the trade to the yanks…

    and texas would be better served in flipping less prospects for a lesser, but still good pitcher. .. maybe a marcum.

  26. No they’re not…

    Zack Grienke will definetly veto a trade to NY. I really think he doesent want to play there. And those records of his anxiety disorder will have to be reviewed by the Yankees before they want to close in on Grienke. Chance is, they awknowledge the city this is, they aknowledge Zack’s desease, and decide not go after him. I’m sorry Span neither of those guys are going to become Royals

  27. SPAN, your wrong if you think were coughing up 3 top arms for greinke.
    im pretty sure Perez is untouchable, and I think Holland,Beltre and one more 2nd tier could get it done

  28. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    Marcum isn’t going anywhere and Greinke might waive his no trade to get out of KC

  29. I agree. I am also a Yankees fan and I really just want Lee. Gardner offers a lot of what Crawford does at about 3% of the cost. Prospects aside, I still wouldn’t want anything to do with Greinke. Mental health issues are hard to shake. He may be better off dominating in a place like KC where he never really has any pressure. It is sad for sure but hey that’s life.

  30. He might be. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff and his delivery is smooth and simple. He dominates by throwing 5 different pitches in any count with pinpoint control. As long as he still has that control, he could still be very good in his late 30’s.

  31. It’s widely believed that he has most of the big-market teams on his NTC, and for good reason with his social anxiety disorder. It has been improving though (coming from Greinke himself) but he had this to say:

    “[The environment] had a lot to do with [signing the extension], for sure,” Greinke said at the 2009 All-Star Game. “Now, maybe New York would bother me, but I don’t think anywhere else would bother me anymore. Even though I’m in Kansas City, I’ve gotten used to it a lot more. New York, I still might have trouble in New York. I probably would. But I think almost everyone does.”

    I can’t see him waiving his NTC to go to NY, and there’s other teams sure to be interested that has the means to trade for him.

  32. moonraker45 5 years ago

    You don’t know for sure that marcum isn’t going anywhere. . I love the guy, but the jays need to get better and younger and marcum for what he is, is an extremely desirable piece. I mean that kind of skill, work ethic, and leadership for 800,000/k a year? umm yes please

    Not too mention that he’s a great fielder and has a good bat.. a national league team would love a guy like this. . he could play second base if he wasnt a pitcher

  33. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    That won’t happen

  34. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    Perez isn’t untouchable and I didn’t list 3 top arms.

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