You have to hand it to new Rangers owners Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan. They’ve shown confidence, even cockiness, since taking over the Rangers. Even before they beat the Yankees in the ALCS they claimed that they had what it took to retain Cliff Lee. Ryan in particular has been outspoken in this stance. Yet it appears that in the last couple of days that has changed.
It started yesterday, when Ryan told SI’s Jon Heyman that he thinks Lee is “about ready to entertain offers.” The most aggressive offers will likely come from the Yankees, Rangers, and Nationals, but we could see a dozen or more teams submit proposals. Now that we’re a step further in the process, are the Rangers as confident as before?
Apparently not. Nolan Ryan talked to Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal. Costa’s tweet says it all:
Nolan Ryan said he expects Yankees to outbid Rangers for Cliff Lee. Said they’ll try to sell appeal of Texas, but didn’t sound confident.
The appeal of Texas is that Lee wouldn’t have to pay state income tax on about half of his salary, and that he’d be a bit closer to his home in Little Rock. The appeal of New York is that he’ll earn more money and he’ll be in an environment where the front office will consistently surround him with elite talent. And, in my biased view, it being New York City makes it appealing enough.
This situation likely won’t play out until the Winter Meetings, but it does appear that the Yanks have the situation well at hand. It will mean big changes in the future, but I’m sure the Yankees are well aware of the obstacles they’ll face with multiple $20 million contracts on the books.