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Cliff Lee Sweepstakes: How the Texas Rangers Can Win the Battle

The well-documented, off-season story regarding free agent pitcher Cliff Lee has gained so much intensity, multiple radio stations in Dallas are broadcasting hourly updates on the sweepstakes to sign the coveted previous Cy Young winner.

Just don’t expect a one-hour special on ESPN announcing Lee’s decision. It’s not his style.

Neither are the bright lights of New York City.

Speculation abounds that Lee covets the bright lights and bipolar fans of Yankee Stadium due to playing in the shadows of many sub-mediocre teams during his career.

Analysts claim he wants what he has earned: Big money and a big market. But the latter also comes with a big load to carry.

The Yankees are aging. Their rotation (other than Lee) is old and very questionable. The franchise’s all-time hits leader, and no-doubt future Hall of Fame inductee, cannot agree on a new deal. The fan base is comparable to the much-envied friendlies in Philly (insert reminder of the incident with Lee’s wife during the ALCS, here).

Sure, the Yankees have money to spend. Nothing is more certain every off-season except for Death and Taxes. But Lee isn’t about the “glitz and glam” of the Big Apple. He realizes there are more important things in life than money and baseball.

Lee has publicly commented on his desire to play for an organization that has a great chance to win multiple World Championships for the foreseeable future.

He has also stated he would love to be close to his family in Benton, Arkansas.

He said he loves the Dallas area and his wife loves the Dallas area.

He said he enjoyed his time with the Rangers and loved the camaraderie within the team.

Did I mention New York has a state income tax?

Welcome to Texas.

We don’t pay state income tax.

Our Ballpark is known around MLB as being very family-driven. Going home to Benton is only a 45-minute flight. The Rangers reached the first-ever Fall Classic with a nucleus of young players who have not yet reached their prime. The farm system is again ranked among the best in baseball.

What was it Lee said after being traded from the Mariners in July? It’s hot? 

Welcome to Texas.

We have the hottest summer playing conditions in all of baseball. But, let’s examine. With July and August being the most sweltering, Lee would make approximately six home starts each season during those months. That’s all. What’s wrong with sweating a little? Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg sit outside in the heat with the fans every game. 

Speaking of the Rangers’ new owners, what better ownership could a prime pitcher ask for than the legendary Hall of Famer, Nolan Ryan?

Greenberg and Ryan have publicly acknowledged their desire and determination to bring a World Championship to Texas. They’ve locked up the best GM in the game to prove that.

John Daniels has proven his ability and dedication to the franchise and taken it to a world class organization in just a few years.

With great ownership, great teammates, close proximity to his Arkansas home, and a good young group of players behind him, the only thing Lee needs to do is sign on the dotted line.

But what will he demand?

The Rangers are prepared to offer Lee a five year deal believed to be around $20 million per season.

If the Yankees offer the same money for an extra sixth year, will Lee bail on Big D and bolt for the Big Apple?

Don’t count on it.

Believe it or not, Yankees, there is more to Lee than money. 

Cliff, Welcome to Texas. 

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Rangers a Lock For AL West Crown

Why the AL West race is already over…


Currently, the AL West standings are as follows:


Team                    W            L             GB         GR

Rangers                63           45           0              54

A’s                          54           53           8.5          55

Angels                  54           56           10           52

Mariners              40           69           23.5        53



For the sake of time and space, we are going to omit the Mariners from the conversation. For the purposes of this argument, we assume the Rangers will severely underachieve their final 54 games of the year and only win half, and go 27-27. Should that be the case, the Rangers would finish with a record of 90—72. We use this number as a basis for the argument.


Let’s start with the team currently occupying second place—the Oakland A’s. They are only one game over .500 and have 55 games remaining—the most in the division. In order to catch the Rangers, they would have to go 36-19 the rest of the season. Can Oakland really play to a level of 17 games over .500 when they are currently just one game over? Here is a look at their remaining opponents and how many games against each:


* Texas (10)

LA Angels (6)

Seattle (10)

* Minnesota (6)

* White Sox (3)

Kansas City (3)

Cleveland (3)

* Toronto (3)

* Tampa Bay (4)

* NY Yankees (4)

* Boston (3)


Can they play 17 games over .500 with that schedule? No. Each team with an asterisk currently has a better record than Oakland. That’s 33 of their 55 remaining games against teams with a better record. And that’s not including 6 games against the Angels with whom Oakland has only won 6 of 13 meetings so far this season. Prediction: Oakland will finish their final 55 games with a record of 30-25 and finish the season 84-78.


Moving on to those hated (and, yes, third-place) Angels who currently sit 10 games behind the Rangers, and 11 games behind the Rangers in the loss column. The Angels have the fewest remaining games to be played of any team in the division and they have more ground to make up than Oakland. In order to catch the Rangers (again, assuming the Rangers play .500 ball the remainder of the season and finish 90-72), the Angels would have to comprise a record of 36-16—a winning percentage of almost 70%. Can the Angels really set a pace of winning 7 of every 10 games the rest of the season?  Here is a look at their remaining opponents and how many games against each:


* Detroit (3)

Kansas City (3)

* Minnesota (3)

* White Sox (3)

Cleveland (6)

* Toronto (3)

* Boston (3)

* Tampa Bay (6)

Baltimore (3)

Seattle (6)

* Oakland (6)

* Texas (7)


The Angels definitely have an easier schedule than Oakland, but they have more ground to make up and fewer games to do it. Again, each team with an asterisk currently has a better record than the Angels. That’s 34 of their remaining 52 games against teams with a better record. If any ground is to be made up, August would be the Angels best opportunity. Their final 16 games of the season are as follows:


@ Tampa Bay (3)

vs. Texas (3)

vs. White Sox (3)

vs. Oakland (3)

@ Texas (4)


That’s 13 of their final 16 games against teams currently occupying at least a share of a division lead. Do the Angels even stand a fighting chance of going 36-16 against that schedule? No way. Prediction: The Angels will finish their final 52 games with a record of 24-28 and finish the season 78-84—in third place.

The AL West race is over. The Texas Rangers are primed for a deep run into the postseason and are built for years to come. A new era in the AL West is about to begin. GO RANGERS!

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Texas Rangers: A Cuban Team?

No, there is no talk of a new prospective owner of the Rangers moving the team to Cuba. But will the Rangers soon be a Cuban team?

The well-publicized bankruptcy of the Rangers becomes more of a headache with each passing day. Every day this situation goes unresolved is like throwing gasoline on a fire.

The Greenberg/Ryan group, comprised of Chuck Greenberg and legendary Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, had a deal in place months ago to acquire the organization. However, creditors went up in arms and have delayed the deal, claiming the $525 million bid from Greenberg and Ryan was not the highest bid—simply the bid that MLB executives and owners wanted to accept, since Ryan would remain the team’s president.

Creditors were quick to argue that the highest bidder should have gained control of the organization, purely because it would’ve meant more money repaid to the creditors than from the Greenberg/Ryan group.

Many more details emerged through the months that clouded the water even further, leading to the August 4th auction of the Rangers. Any new bid must enter the auction at no less than $530 million, with consequential bids requiring an increase of at least $2 million per bid. A further detail that emerged over the last few months was Mark Cuban and his strong interest in acquiring the organization, after he appeared to have no interest in the franchise whatsoever a few months ago.

Cuban is known for his radical attitude and actions as owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. It was said that even if Cuban were to place a bid on the Rangers, Major League Baseball would not approve him as an owner due to his radical ownership beliefs. Cuban attempted to purchase the Chicago Cubs last year and it was rumored that his bid was strongly opposed by Bud Selig and MLB.

However, details emerged early on July 22 that confirmed Cuban had expressed interest in placing a bid for the organization and that MLB has approved his request to place that bid.

Would this be good for the Rangers? And for MLB?

Yes. It would be very good.

At the very least, it would be exciting and entertaining. And for a franchise that has only one playoff win in its history, a change of pace and a radical owner may be the spark that gets this young, exciting team over the hill.

Look first at what Cuban did for the Mavericks. Yes, his antics and behavior have cost him multiple fines for millions of dollars. But the Mavericks have become one of the most valuable NBA franchises in the league, the team has won 50-plus games for 10 consecutive seasons, and he brings a fresh attitude to the game. He is not afraid to spend money in order to make the team better. (Please take notes here, Tom Hicks.)

Imagine, what would that type of owner do for a franchise stuck in a rut for the last 38 years? And for a franchise beginning to come into its own and gaining national attention as a legitimate World Series contender? Could Cuban turn the young Rangers into a Braves-like dynasty for the next 15 or 20 years? I think he could.

Critics are skeptical and fear that Cuban would taint the league and the Rangers. It wouldn’t happen. Cuban would retain Nolan Ryan and, more than likely, Chuck Greenberg. They would form a front office three-headed monster that would be rivaled and well-respected around the league. The Rangers would finally be seen as a legitimate organization and be recognized around the league as a title contender, year after year.

Mark Cuban has done nothing but good things for the Dallas Mavericks and has helped improve the NBA. Why not let him do the same for the Rangers and MLB?

With all the possible suitors for a new owner, the team could go in any number of directions, based on who ultimately gains ownership. If Cuban wins the auction, you can feel confident that the organization would be in trustworthy hands. 

Jump on the Cuban train. It promises to be a good ride.

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Texas Rangers: Will They Win AL West Division Crown?

Yes, they will. Guaranteed.

If I were in Vegas, I’d place my entire savings on the odds that the Rangers will go into the playoffs as the AL West winner.

Living in the Dallas area my entire life, the talk has always been: “next year” or “They’ll fade after the All-Star break.” And, until now, that talk has always been true and relevant. But, not this year. And here’s why:

The Rangers have one of the toughest second-half schedules in the big leagues. Going into the break, the Rangers were limping worse than a chihuahua after being attacked by a pack of wolves. They had lost eight of 11, including a four-game home sweep at the hands of the MLB-worst Orioles—the first time the birds had achieved that in 15 years. 

But, the team had a few days off, regrouped, and came out with a vengeance—eager to avenge the horrible play before the break. The Rangers came within one out of a sweep at Fenway of the recent two-time World Series Champions. Next on the agenda was a three-game date with the Tigers where the Rangers had gone winless in their last 11 games spanning two seasons.

A gutsy, 14-inning win achieved at the mighty hands of a Nelson Cruz opposite field home run, was the most important victory of the season, so far. The team committed three errors (and got away with a fourth) and still won. The monkey is off the back of the Rangers as they head into the final two games of the series, beginning tonight at Comerica Park.

What looked like the beginning of the end for the Rangers—the beginning of the toughest stretch of the season—has been a positive, momentum-building road trip. While going 4-1 through the first five games of this road trip, the Rangers have held the lead in all five games in the eighth inning. They surrendered the lead only once—a 3-2 extra innings loss to the Red Sox.

They have started the second half on a tear, but the next few weeks are critical for this team and their legitimacy as title contenders. Following the Tigers, the Rangers come home to start a stretch of 16-consecutive games against divisional foes (seven at home, nine away). 

It doesn’t get any easier as the Yankees and Red Sox come to Arlington, followed by a road trip to face the dangerous Tampa Bay Rays.

It will be tough, but testing the depth and mindset of the team with good competition is a great test before the playoffs. This team can take it. They are ready.

It’s time to forget the old M.O. of this team. It’s time to put the Rangers on the national baseball map. It’s time to believe in this team.

It’s time!

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