Sunday, December 12, 2010
Updated: December 13, 10:33 AM ET
Rangers remain patient over Cliff Lee
By Richard Durrett
All Texas Rangers president Nolan Ryan can do is sit and wait for Cliff Lee to make a decision.
"I have no insight into when he'll do that," Ryan said on Sunday afternoon. "I don't have a feel for it one way or the other. We'll just have to see."
Ryan said Lee has a lot to sort through and expected that it would take the free-agent left-handed pitcher some time. And Ryan, who made two of the three trips the Rangers made to Little Rock, Ark., to try to woo Lee, is trying not to worry about it.
"If it's meant to be, it's meant to be," Ryan said. "If he doesn't come, we'll keep working to improve our team headed into spring training next year."
What Ryan wondered was what, if anything, the New York Yankees might try to do in response to the Rangers' meeting Thursday night. Then, managing general partner and CEO Chuck Greenberg, assistant general manager Thad Levine and co-chairman of the board Ray Davis presented Lee with what Greenberg called a "menu" of offers.
Greenberg said they represented a "substantial additional commitment for both years and dollars."
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told The New York Post on Sunday that he has not increased any of his offers for Lee. One of the offers, according to the report, is believed to be seven years for around $160 million.
"I think it's good that we haven't heard anything about New York sweetening the pot," Ryan said. "I was wondering if they would do that."
Ryan said six years is past his "comfort zone."
"When they [the Yankees] went to seven years, that surprised me," Ryan said. "But you don't know the details of that offer. All you'd be doing is speculating."
Ryan said that he does believe the 32-year-old Lee has certain factors that give him an opportunity to have solid production during the life of a six- or seven-year contract.
"I think he has a better shot at it than most," Ryan said. "I don't know if he can pitch like he did this year for all of those years, but his body style, work ethics and the way he throws the ball seem to lend itself to longevity. He doesn't throw a real hard slider that might put undue stress on his elbow, he's mechanically sound and he uses the fastball to a high degree. I think all of that is favorable."
So the Rangers continue to wait like the rest of the baseball world for Lee to weigh all of his options and choose the one he feels is best for his career and family.
"They'll let us know," Ryan said.
Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his mailbag.