Rob Parker of ESPNNewYork.com wrote an interesting open letter to Cliff Lee as to why he should tell the Rangers no and head to the Yankees. Forgive me, but I feel the need to at least list a few reasons as to why Lee should head to Texas and not the bright lights of the Big Apple (reasons, I'm sure, he's weighing as he makes this decision):
* These are not A-Rod's Rangers anymore. I don't really get how that seems to be the argument against a club with completely new ownership and a different front office than was in place when Rodriguez signed his ridiculously large contract. The Rangers aren't even the same team that spent part of 2010 in bankruptcy and months before that dealing with a shoestring budget. Texas' ownership group has some deep pockets. No, they aren't just going to dip into them for anyone and everyone -- that certainly didn't work for Tom Hicks -- but they can afford to make major signings and still have some left over for future deals. Texas has some talented players that will need new contracts soon (Josh Hamilton, C.J. Wilson and Nelson Cruz among them) and CEO Chuck Greenberg has vowed that the organization won't do anything that puts them in danger of not being able to make competitive offers and do what's needed to keep the young core together. I wouldn't call what the Rangers have a "beer pocketbook."
* The Rangers are a young group that is only going to get better. It's taken time for Rangers' manager Ron Washington's philosophy of solid defense, fundamentals and situational hitting to take hold, but they have. The club, thanks in large part to Lee, took a major step in winning the franchise's first playoff series and beating the Yankees in the ALCS. They should be contenders for years to come.
* I'm not sure why there's a big sense that the Rangers' victory over the Yankees in the ALCS was a fluke. It sure looked like the better team won that series. Texas got the timely hits and pitched better.
* Parker focuses on Vladimir Guerrero, saying the Rangers didn't pick up the option and because of that, they are too poor to afford him. Well, both sides agreed when the contract was signed that they weren't going to pick up the option. It was a way to get Guerrero more money before new ownership was in place. The Rangers do want Guerrero, but feel that it's smarter to sign him to a one-year deal (maybe even one with an option year). There's nothing wrong with that. He could certainly end up back in Texas if no one gives him a multi-year deal (and so far, no one has). And while Guerrero was big for this team, he wasn't the only offensive weapon.
* Arlington is a 4 1/2-hour drive from Lee's home in Arkansas and probably 30 minutes by air. New York is not. And while that may not seem like a big deal, if the offers are close, why not stay close to home?
* No state tax in Texas. No, Lee won't live here. But he won't have to worry about paying state taxes for 81 home games each season over the life of the contract. That might not seem like much, but it is a savings.
* Lee said 2010 was the most fun he's had in his career. Why not stay in the place that made you that happy?
I don't know where Lee is going to go. And I know he has a tough decision. This is his best chance to get a big contract and he should take advantage of it. I also see reasons to go to the big stage in New York, if that's what he chooses. But it's important to note that there are good reasons for going to Arlington too. That's all I'm saying, Rob.