Before we put this story to sleep, I did want to share a few more thoughts on this Colin Cowherd stuff about Cliff Lee. If you aren't up to speed, check out Lee's response here and Cowherd's original comments on his show yesterday. Some thoughts:
* Will Lee end up in Texas next year? I've said all along I think the odds are long. I say that because he's going to command top dollar from a handful of teams. He's the best pitcher on the market and consistently goes deep into games. That's the kind of investment you pay big bucks for. I think this new management team will do all it can to keep him, but with the Yankees and other teams involved in the bidding, that won't be easy. And even though this team will be increasing payroll, some of the current players are due big raises (see Josh Hamilton and C.J. Wilson, for example). So it won't be easy. Lee is worth breaking the bank for, but can the Rangers break the bank more than the Yankees?
* Lee said at the All-Star break that he wants a no-trade clause in his next contract and that he wants to listen to offers. Who can blame him? He's worked hard and pitched well to earn this opportunity. The smart move is to see what all is out there and make a decision. Ranger fans should not hold that against Lee.
* After being around Lee in the clubhouse and seeing the way he interacts with his teammates and coaches and finding out more about his personality, you'll never convince me that he's mailing anything in. There's no way he's doing that, whether it was a contract year or not.
* The look on Lee's face and his body language last night revealed a player upset that those types of comments were made about him. At the same time, he doesn't let what anyone says impact him much. He talked briefly to a few of us last night about it and then went back to chatting with Ian Kinsler about other topics.
* Lee has clearly embraced this clubhouse. He's become close with Kinsler and has a locker right near the second baseman. He plays chess, is happy to discuss pitching philosophy with any teammate that wants to listen and seems to me to be enjoying the atmosphere. In several different interviews he's talked about what a fun, yet professional place this is to be.
* Will the heat be the determining factor in whether Lee leaves? Lee says no and I believe him. Nolan Ryan doesn't believe the heat will decide it either. Weather is one of many factors players look at when deciding where to play. It's part of the entire package. But the idea that it's too hot here and so Lee isn't coming back is not a theory I buy. If he leaves, it will be for a number of reasons and not simply the weather.
* Will he leave because of lack of run support when he starts? I say no to that too. He sees the potential of this offense when everyone is healthy and I think the breaks haven't gone his way in run support right now. Over a full season, that would even out. He knows that.
So we'll see what happens this offseason. There's no question keeping Lee is a top priority for this ownership group and they'll do everything they can to try to make it happen. In the meantime, expect Lee to have a great stretch run and to help this team in the playoffs.