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 Lee. The 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:
- Designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero has a $9MM mutual option for 2011. GM Jon Daniels told Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News, "We're not going to evaluate him on two weeks of games when he's had a career of excellent performance."
- Catcher Bengie Molina didn't rule out playing next year, talking to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The Rangers' other free agents are Cristian Guzman, Jorge Cantu, Frank Francisco, and Matt Treanor. Their ten arbitration eligible players should eat up a chunk of the payroll increase: Nelson Cruz, David Murphy, Darren O'Day, Josh Hamilton, Mark Lowe, Dustin Nippert, Jeff Francoeur, C.J. Wilson, Brandon McCarthy, and Esteban German. Nippert, Francoeur, McCarthy, and German are non-tender candidates, in my estimation.