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Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Lobby talk: Cliff Lee, relievers, DH

By Richard Durrett

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- A few things seen and heard at the Winter Meetings this afternoon:

* ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports that Cliff Lee's agent, Darek Braunecker, has left the meetings. He had indicated to me earlier today that he might leave tonight and apparently he's decided to do that. He told me he had productive meetings with the Rangers this week and that the club is "still in the mix." Read more about that here.

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ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett checks in with the latest from the MLB Winter Meetings.

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* Leaving the meetings means it's likely Braunecker know what he's dealing with and will mull things over with Lee and figure out the next step. My bet: This thing gets done next week.

* Earlier today, Braunecker said one team had been eliminated from the Lee sweepstakes. Of course, he didn't say which team that might be.

* Two baseball officials mentioned that the market for relievers has slowed down. Apparently teams, like Texas, are waiting to see what Lee does before making a move in that area.

* Texas met with representatives for Carl Crawford and have some interest in the outfielder. This is likely a fall back plan. It's a crowded outfield, but Crawford sure would look good in the Rangers' lineup. He's from Houston and his left-handed bat would play well in Arlington. He'll command more than Jayson Werth (7 years, $126 million -- a contract that still stuns me), but it might be an option of the club doesn't get Lee.

* The price for Kansas City's Zack Greinke remains high in terms of trade value. The Royals will likely wait until Lee is signed before really cranking things up. The Rangers have the prospects to get Greinke, but don't want to give up the number and names that the Royals want at this point. Texas doesn't want to part with Jurickson Profar, but others are on that list of "guys the club wouldn't want to give up." I will remind you that they didn't want to trade Justin Smoak either, presenting every combination they could think of to the Mariners that didn't include him. But in the end, they pulled the trigger.

* Texas was expected to meet with Vladimir Guerrero's agents today and they remain very interested in the slugger. He wants a multi-year deal and the Rangers would prefer a one-year deal. Maybe they could meet in the middle with a one-year deal with an option that includes a buyout similar to Guerrero's last contract? We'll see. They have shown interest in Jim Thome, Magglio Ordonez and Marcus Thames. And yes, Manny Ramirez.  

* I haven't heard Michael Young's name for most of the day today. His name has come up in discussions, but as Nolan Ryan said yesterday, the team isn't shopping him. Don't expect the Rangers to trade Young, who is due $16 million for three more seasons. Nor should they. He's the face of the franchise, the unquestioned team leader and can still hit, folks. But you always have to listen. You never know when someone might blow your socks off.

* The Rangers do have interest in Matt Garza, if he's made available by the Rays. What's unclear is what that may cost in prospects. But it's another option if Lee falls through or the Greinke price stays too high.

Back to the lobby. Stay tuned.