Rangers managing general partner/CEO Chuck Greenberg sounded like he was running a restaurant, but the meaning was clear: The Rangers stepped up their efforts to land Cliff Lee, the main free agent pitching entree.
“We reaffirmed our commitment to fielding a championship-caliber team and conveyed a menu of multiple offers which represented a substantial additional commitment for both years and dollars in an attempt to land his services,” Rangers general managing partner and CEO Chuck Greenberg said Thursday night.
That menu likely included plenty of creative options for Lee to consider. Greenberg wouldn't get into specifics, but it's likely the offers are at least for six years. Club president Nolan Ryan indicated Wednesday night that it would probably take six years to get Lee and that the club was strongly considering that. It's unclear whether they would go to seven yeras, but until today the club had been unwilling to do that. But as Greenberg noted, this is a fluid situation and things change.
What's interesting is that Greenberg's increased offers, along with his stance that Lee and his family needed to time to go through them and that the club would not press them on a timetable is an alteration of tactics from just 24 hours ago. Ryan said the club has some things cooking and didn't want to lose some opportunities if the Lee sweepstakes dragged on. He also said the when Darek Braunecker, Lee's agent, left the Winter Meetings on Wednesday, the club asked him to talk to Lee and get back to them about what it would take to bring him to Texas.
Braunecker didn't like that strategy as he told ESPN.com Thursday morning. So the Rangers changed things up. They brought Ray Davis, a major investor in the ownership group, and assistant GM Thad Levine, who handles contracts for the club. So Lee likely had an opportunity to really cut to the chase and get a firm idea of what the club was looking at.
Will the Rangers' hustled sales pitch and altered approach work? We'll see. The club is hoping that a competitive offer combined with the fact that Lee liked it in Texas and lives in Arkansas will be enough to keep him away from the bright lights of the Big Apple. Stay tuned.