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Cliff Lee: Nationals, Yankees and Rangers Are in, but Who’s the Mystery Team?

If you’ve been watching and listening to all the coverage on Major League Baseball’s winter meetings, or maybe following along on Twitter, you’ve seen a lot of news surrounding left-hander Cliff Lee.

We know the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees are in, but we found out earlier this morning that the Washington Nationals had apparently jumped into the running. Surprising, seeing as they already threw $126 million at outfielder Jayson Werth.

Nationals’ general manager Mike Rizzo is trying to load up his team for a run at the playoffs for the 2011 season and beyond. I have to give him credit, just one day after taking shots at him, for at least giving his fans a reason to believe that contending isn’t years away, but maybe just months away.

So we know there are at least three teams holding discussions with Lee and his agent, but apparently there is a mystery team that is involved as well. One that apparently, according to Jon Heyman of, has already given the free agent pitcher a seven-year offer.

Who is that mystery team? We know the Yankees are not willing to give Lee more than six years and though there’s been no official word from the Rangers on how long of a deal they’re willing to give, I don’t believe they are willing to give him more than five or six.

So who does that leave? If all three of the teams we know about aren’t willing to give seven, who is?

Here are a few teams to think about. I’m not saying they are the mystery team we’re talking about, but I’m just giving out names to think about.

Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Those are the four teams who could get involved. The Cubs desperately need to give their fans a ray of hope and you know the White Sox and manager Ozzie Guillen would love to return to the World Series. Adding Adam Dunn was a good start for them.

As for the Dodgers and the Angels, both have young pitching and both have the money to throw at Lee.

The Dodgers just finished the court proceedings with the divorce of the McCourts. Now that that’s out of the way, they can focus on the players they need to bring in. While I don’t believe the Dodgers will give seven years, they have a manager in Don Mattingly that would love to have a guy like Lee.

Now to the Angels. Owner Artie Moreno is not a guy that’s going to throw money around blindly, unless it’s for a guy he feels is worth it. Cliff Lee is certainly a guy that can be a huge addition to an already talented rotation that boasts Jered Weaver.

So, with all that being said, I’m curious to hear your guesses on who you believe the mystery team is. And, while we’re at it, how much do you think Lee is going to command to get a deal done?

There is going to be speculation, rumors, maneuvering, and gesturing in the media to make one team think one thing while making another team think something else.

This is going to be a fun ride to the finish. It’s why, to me, the winter meetings are one of the most exciting times of the off season.

Cliff Lee is going somewhere. Will he go to whomever gives him the most money? Or is there a tie to the Rangers that will bring him back as long as the contract offer is reasonable?

There are a lot of questions yet to be answered, but only when answers come will we know how this will play out.

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Was It Werth It? Jayson Werth’s Deal Is Just the Start of Big-Time Contracts

Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford would love to give you a hug or at least send you a thank you card because what you did for his new contract isn’t something he can put into words.

Although, the stupidity of the Washington Nationals should be worth something to Crawford as well because if it wasn’t for the team in the nation’s capital, Crawford wouldn’t be looking at nearly the amount of money that he’ll command now.

We found out over the weekend that tIhe Nationals had signed the former Philadelphia Phillies’ outfielder to a seven-year $126 million contract. The most surprising thing about this deal was the fact that it was kept almost silent. With the social media available these days, that’s almost impossible and unheard of.

Before you look at Werth’s deal as the standard bearer, there’s a rumor floating around that the Red Sox and Adrian Gonzalez have agreed to an eight-year $161 million extension. But, there’s another story out that says the extension for Gonzalez will be seven-years for $154 million.

Money has gone crazy and baseball’s winter meetings are less than a few hours old. Werth gets $126 million, Gonzalez looks to be getting $161 million and Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford are still out there and available.

We are still yet to see two of the biggest contracts get signed.

But let’s stick with the deal the Nationals signed. I honestly didn’t think the Nationals would do something like this. Why sign a guy for that many years who is 1) over 30 and 2) end the contract two years shy of his 40th birthday?

Didn’t they learn anything from the Chicago Cubs and outfielder Alfonso Soriano? Anything at all?

Let’s not forget, this is the same Washington Nationals team that rushed pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg up to the big leagues so the fans would have something to look forward to.

Sure, he shined in his debut, and sure, there were plenty of sportswriters who were a blubbering mess when they talked about him, almost in the same way as teenage girls do when they talk about teeny bopper Justin Bieber.

It’s all well and good if you want to show off a little and boast that you have a guy who can throw 103 miles per hour consistently. I’m happy for the Nationals that they have a kid like that.

However, when it was time to shut him down, the Nationals didn’t want to do it. They were selling tickets and making money. He was their cash cow, no way were they going to do the right thing and shut him down for the season.

They were playing for nothing. Not a playoff spot, not a wild card spot, nothing. Yet they continued to run him out every fifth day until, surprise, Strasburg succumbed to the work load and had to undergo Tommy John surgery which will force him to miss the entire 2011 season.

Congratulations Washington. Was that worth it?

Let’s talk about former Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Carl Crawford who might get the biggest offseason contract of any player out there.

The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and a few other teams have big-time interest in this young outfielder, and for good reason. In 2009, he hit .307 with 19 home runs and 90 runs batted in. Not only that, but he’s a solid defender for any team looking to fill a hole in their outfield.

So if Werth gets $126 million, Gonzalez is apparently at $154 million, could Crawford be looking at a contract worth upwards of $170-$180 million or more? The other question is, who is really ready to pony up that kind of dough and for how many years?

Last, but certainly not least, is the Cliff Lee sweepstakes.

The top two teams that are involved in trying to lure Lee to their team are the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers. There are going to be other teams in the running, but none that can match the two that I previously mentioned.

For the Rangers, it’s the draw of enjoying the guys he played with and has already been on the record of saying that he would love to be a part of the team next year. Not only that, but he’s within driving distance of his home in Arkansas.

As far as the Yankees go, it’s all about money and championships with them. If he signs with New York, it will be because they offered him either more years or more money per year than the Rangers.

If you’re either team, how much is this left hander, with plenty of playoff experience, worth to you?

We’re only through one day of the winter meetings with more moving pieces still to come over this week. I’m curious to see what kind of stupid money is thrown around this week, or will we not see two of the bigger contracts signed until after the holidays?

I won’t take anything away from Jayson Werth, I’ll just say congratulations and I hope you can live up to what they expect from you for the next seven years.

If not, most people will forget all about it. At least those outside of Washington D.C. Besides, there’s more pressure on a young teammate of yours than there is on you. 

I doubt very highly that Nationals’ general manager Mike Rizzo came to the winter meetings hoping to be mocked. But, he accomplished just that. Congratulations to you as well Mr. Rizzo.

The winter meetings are something that all of us baseball fans look forward to. We want to know when our teams are making a move and who they are interested in.

But, even the biggest Nationals fan said the following after hearing of the Jayson Werth deal. “Wait, we gave how much to who?!”

So now that Werth is a member of the $100-million club, I may as well send members-only jackets to Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford. It’s just a matter of time before they join it as well.

Salary cap anyone?

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Adrian Gonzalez to Red Sox: San Diego Padres Fans Unhappy To Lose Another All-Star

Adrian Gonzalez can now be called a “former San Diego Padre.”

Late last night, rumors were on fire that the San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox were close to a deal that would send Gonzalez to the Northeast. I wanted to see if this was more than talk, seeing as we went through this same kind of thing this time last year.

As I awoke this morning, I found the rumors to not only be more than talk, but they turned into fact a few hours ago: The Padres had dealt their All-Star first baseman to the Boston Red Sox.

What was unclear, at least to me at the time, was which players were going to be involved in the deal. For a guy like Gonzalez, I figured the Padres would be getting some big-time talent in return, guys who would make an immediate impact on the team in 2011. Right?


What I quickly realized was this was no talent-for-talent package. This was a fire sale, a move to bring in “prospects” to reload the Padres’ minor league system. They let Adrian go to Boston for no more than chump change.

Padres fans are furious, and they have every right to be. They are being laughed at by fans of the Dodgers, Giants, Diamondbacks and probably the Red Sox as well, knowing they didn’t have to give up anything from their big-league club.

No Jacoby Ellsbury, no Clay Buchholz, no Jonathan Papelbon. Nothing.

I talked to Dan Hayes of the San Diego North County Times, a guy who’s been on this trade since the news broke late last night.

“Since the start I’ve heard the Padres were only seeking minor leaguers,” he said. “So I’m not surprised they didn’t get any major league players back. These guys fit the bill for what they’re looking for: young, controllable, talented. The top of the farm system is lacking these types of players, other than Cory Luebke and Simon Castro.”

The players Hayes is referring to are minor league pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and outfielder Reymond Fuentes. None of whom were higher than Double-A this past season.

“The Padres interest is in getting young, controllable and talented players,” Hayes told me. “If this deal does go through, then in Kelly, Rizzo and Fuentes, they got three players that the current front office is very familiar with, having drafted the trio while they were still in Boston. Now they get all of these guys and not one has a day of service time to their names, meaning the Padres can control them all for up to six years.”

When this offseason began, most Padres fans knew that the team would have to trade their first baseman either before the 2011 season started or at the trade deadline in July. They knew he was going to test free agency and the front office knew they didn’t have the money to re-sign him.

A trade was the only thing left to do.

Gonzalez isn’t the only big name to leave San Diego. In just the last four years, these names have been in Padres uniforms and have left for other teams: Mike Cameron, Trevor Hoffman, Jake Peavy and, now, Gonzalez.

A name you can add to that list in the coming weeks or months is closer Heath Bell. According to a report from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Padres will “absolutely” trade their closer. But he says a second source calls that trade “unlikely.”

The funniest part about Rosenthal’s second tweet and the reasoning behind the Padres not wanting to trade Bell is “not wanting to further upset fans.” I think it’s a little late for that.

As you might imagine, Twitter is buzzing with reaction from Padres and Red Sox fans over this trade. The Sox fans are elated, while the Padres fans are as upset as ever, as another “star” is leaving their town.

It’s not as if it’s something they haven’t experienced before; this isn’t the only fire sale they’ve been through. You might remember the team being disassembled after their World Series run in 1998.

While Hayes can understand why fans feel the way they do, he says this was just the front office’s reality. “The Padres obviously know they can’t afford Adrian Gonzalez after this season. They have virtually no chance of retaining him and every day he’s with them he loses value. So they did the next best thing, which was get two teams to bid and take the best package. I think they played their cards pretty well.”

But before Padres fans jump off the bandwagon, there may still be hope that this team can compete in the next few years. These prospects are being talked about as some of the talented young players in the minor leagues right now.

If that holds true, than the Padres front office will look like geniuses. Right now, they’re looking like court jesters.

Fans in San Diego have been waiting a long time to see their team finally break through, to finally get to the World Series. They’ve had a taste of it, but that was 12 years ago. A taste just isn’t good enough for these fans.

While we can sit here and talk about the reaction from San Diego, what about Gonzalez himself?

There are those who believe he’s been waiting for this kind of trade for some time. He’s a player who was bigger than the team itself, not in ego, but in talent.

“I know Adrian liked San Diego,” a source told me. “But he has wanted this for a long time, being with a prime-market team.”

Some believed that he never won an MVP Award or the number of Gold Gloves he could have won for no reason other than being in a “mid-major town.”

Whatever you want to believe about sports, one thing has always held true: Bigger sports towns will find some reason to hold the smaller sports town at arm’s length, no matter what kind of year they’re having. Gonzalez has been feeling that since he burst onto the scene as a power-hitting, Gold Glove-winning first baseman.

We’ve heard all the reactions from San Diego’s point of view, but I wanted to get the reaction out of Boston. I talked to Marc Normandin of Baseball Prospectus, who told me that this is a win in the eyes of the Red Sox fans.

“Boston fans have learned, over the years, to appreciate prospects coming up through the system,” Normandin said. “The close proximity of their upper-level minor league teams has made this fan/prospect connection easier, but the thing they still care about the most is winning. Acquiring Gonzalez for three players who haven’t reached the majors yet is a win in their eyes, especially on the heels of losing Victor Martinez’s bat to Detroit.”

But Gonzalez might not be the last player the Red Sox try to acquire during the offseason. Normandin told me Boston is committed to winning in 2011, and they may not be done going after big-time players.

“With all the payroll the Red Sox managed to clear heading into 2011, Carl Crawford is still someone they can afford, even after acquiring Gonzalez and factoring in a potential extension for him into the budget,” said Normandin.

“The problem is that Crawford is also being sought after by other teams, but Boston is clearly looking to win in 2011 if they acquired someone like Gonzalez who has one season left on his deal, so they will be involved in negotiations down to the wire. Werth would be an excellent consolation prize, but it’s my feeling that they would prefer to acquire Crawford.”

I also talked to Marc about why the Padres didn’t get a single player off Boston’s Major League roster. While he says he’s not surprised, he told me that this is actually “quite a haul” for San Diego.

“The Padres are not necessarily giving up on 2011,” he told me, “but have definitely indicated they are looking more towards 2012 and beyond by dealing Gonzalez now.”

“It makes more sense for them to acquire young prospects who have not started their service time clocks in the majors yet, because they are both inexpensive and under team control for a longer time when the team needs them. For that reason, it’s not a surprise that the Padres didn’t acquire any major league-caliber talent for him—a pair of impact prospects and a third who could be very productive is quite the haul, regardless.”

While what Marc says is true, the line that “these players are under team control for several more years” has been fed to Padres fans more than just today. I can’t help but wonder if that explanation is enough anymore.

This is a trade that is going to be debated throughout San Diego all the way through spring training, when pitchers and catchers report in February.

The media are going to continue to ask general manager Jed Hoyer and the rest of the front office why the fans should believe they did the right thing. They will continue to be questioned until just one of these prospects shows why San Diego acquired them.

This was an All-Star who was the face of the franchise, especially after Trevor Hoffman walked in free agency and Jake Peavy was traded before the trade deadline back in 2009.

This is a tough pill for San Diego fans to swallow. They are wondering why they continue to purchase tickets to watch players who are never with the team for that long. They are tired of “waiting for next year.”

Boston got the better end of this deal. They don’t have to wait for two to three years to see a return on their investment. They get an immediate impact player and they get someone who will make a difference on that team from Day 1 of the 2010 season.

The black cloud of sports disappointments continues to hang over the city of San Diego. While Padres fans want to believe it’s just a matter of time before that cloud finally breaks apart and disappears, it only takes a trade like this to make that cloud that much bigger.

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Blockbuster Trade Live Blog: Padres, Red Sox Could Be Close to a Big Trade

With the winter meetings just a few days away, the San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox are apparently not waiting to get their trade talks going.

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, via Twitter, the Red Sox and Padres are apparently in trade talks that would send not only closer Heath Bell to Boston but also All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. There’s no indication on what the Padres would require in return, but if Boston wants two all-stars, they’re going to have to put up a good package to get the deal done.

There are names that are going to be thrown around, and we’ll keep you updated as we get more news on this deal.

This isn’t the first time these two teams have talked about Gonzalez. They were deep in trade talks this time last year but couldn’t come to an agreement.

However, with Gonzalez, due to test free agency at the end of the 2011 season, the Padres are going to try and get what they can for him now.

I don’t blame them one bit. They can’t afford to re-sign him to the kind of money he’s going to require, so why not get what you can when his value is at its highest point.

Again, we’ll keep this updated as much as possible and get you every update we can as the news comes in.

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Cliff Lee: The Texas Rangers Are Apparently Ready To Offer a Five-Year Deal

We knew the Cliff Lee sweepstakes were going to heat up as soon as the winter meetings got underway, mostly because Lee made it clear he wasn’t going to listen to offers until the aforementioned meetings began.

Well, according to the New York Post, the Texas Rangers could be tipping their hand a little bit early.

George King III writes that the Rangers could be willing to offer a five-year contract that would pay Lee $23 million annually which would make the contract worth roughly $115 million or more depending on if there are any performance based incentives included.

There’s no doubt that the New York Yankees will respond but the fact that the Rangers have laid their cards on the table, assuming this deal is legit, will force the Yankees to go higher than $120 million to keep the left-hander interested.

I’m curious to hear Ranger fans respond to this deal and if they believe this to be the kind of deal they expected the team to put in front of the guy they landed just before the trade deadline this past season.

Are they putting too much on the line for one guy and could they miss out on other free agents if they end up waiting for Lee’s answer, or do they have a backup plan already in place?

Those questions may not be answered until next week when Lee is expected to officially begin looking at the offers on the table.

Though there’s no guarantee that he’ll make a decision by the end of the winter meetings, I would imagine that teams would like the answer sooner rather than later in order to make corresponding moves.

The Rangers have done the right thing here in my opinion.

Though there’s always a chance that they could be bluffing, if it IS a bluff at least it will let the Rangers know just how far Brian Cashman and the Steinbrenner’s are prepared to go.

We do know that the Yankees re-signed Sergio Mitre earlier today.

It’s not a huge move, but it’s one to keep their bullpen strong.

The drama continues to unfold between them and long time shortstop Derek Jeter.

There are rumors that the Yankees were willing to give him three years while Jeter wanted five or six. I don’t blame the Yankees for balking at that.

Ranger fans are hoping to see Cliff Lee back in the blue and white rather than the infamous pinstripes of the New York Yankees.

However, don’t expect Nolan Ryan to get into a bidding war with the Bronx Bombers. He knows full well they can put more money on the table than his team can. Ryan is hoping for southern-leverage and the fact that Lee will be close to his family in Arkansas by staying in Texas.

Ryan also knows that it’s not a tough sell by saying the Rangers are close to winning a championship as they knocked off the defending champion Yankees to get to the World Series, though they would eventually lose to the San Francisco Giants in five games.

This is an intriguing story and one that will only get better in the coming weeks.

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Miguel Tejada: San Francisco Giants Sign the Shortstop to a One-Year Deal

First Jon Garland and now Miguel Tejada.

I asked another Padre friend of mine, via Twitter, if the San Diego Padres were planning on bringing anyone back for the 2011 season.

The Los Angeles Dodgers signed Garland just before Thanksgiving and now another NL West team has signed another former Padre.

This time, it was the San Francisco Giants who signed Tejada to a one-year $6.5 million deal after losing their own shortstop, Juan Uribe, also to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

What makes me question this move is the defensive liability in not only Tejada, but also with Pablo Sandoval over at third base. Tejada doesn’t have the range he once had and, playing on the same side of the infield as Sandoval, it might create a problem.

Maybe the Giants aren’t after defense, it looks as if they are trying to upgrade their offense for next season. Though I can’t say I blame them.

As for the Padres, it seems a lot of fans aren’t all that surprised by the move since the front office was not keen on the idea of paying Tejada nearly the amount of money the Giants gave him. Even on a one-year deal.

While I do agree with the sentiment, I can’t help but wonder if they are sitting on their hands and watching free agency pass them by. Or perhaps they plan to make a splash at next week’s winter meetings.

The team does have holes to fill in their rotation, as well as shortstop and second base, as David Eckstein was also not offered arbitration by the team.

It’s still early in the off season and there are a lot of changes to be made in quite a few teams.

The Dodgers made their move, the Rockies re-signed their star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and the Giants bring over Tejada.

The Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks are the two teams yet to make any kind of a splash. Maybe next week will surprise everyone.

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MLB Hot Stove: Cliff Lee Talk, Trades, Free Agents and More

For those of us who are huge baseball fans and enthusiasts, this is our favorite time of the year, especially those of us whose season came to an end over a month ago.

Free agency, trades, the general manager meetings and the winter meetings. All things where we fans salivate and we check every single, solitary, baseball website we can get our beady little eyes on.

There will be rumors from here until teams start to report to their respective spring training camps in Florida and Arizona.

The teams we root for will begin to take shape and we’ll watch and hope the players we want are interested in coming to our town.

Until then, we wait and we get ready for what could be the most interesting offseason in a long time.

But that’s why we love this time of year.

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Cliff Lee: Ranking the Odds of Every MLB Team Landing the Ace

Cliff Lee “Wanted” posters have already begun to be printed up by just about every Major League team there is. Well, at least those that will be able to afford him.

Now that the World Series has come to an end, it’s time for front offices around baseball to saddle back up and look at their roster to see what they can change and what they will need going into the stretch of offseason that will lead into spring training in February.

We all know there’s been talk about the New York Yankees being the favorite to land the left-hander, but the statements Lee made at the end of the World Series seems to point in the direction of the Texas Rangers.

There’s no question team owner Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels will do everything in their power to bring him back. But, make no mistake about it, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman will pony up as much money as he can to lure Lee to the Bronx.

While the Rangers and Yankees will battle for his services, don’t count out several other teams around baseball from coming out of nowhere and offering a tempting package.

Here are the odds for every team in the MLB on being able to sign Cliff Lee.

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World Series Game 5: San Francisco Giants vs. Texas Rangers

The San Francisco Giants, to this point, have outplayed the Texas Rangers. They’ve beaten the team that was supposed to be the favorite. The little guy has taken down the big guy.

One more win and the Giants will bring home the first ever World Series trophy the city has ever seen. They’ve been there—more than once—but never have they been the ones to celebrate. They’ve always been the ones that ended up watching the celebration.

In Game 5, it’s Tim Lincecum for the Giants and Cliff Lee for the Rangers. These two aces went head-to-head in Game 1, and Lee was dispatched early by the Giants offense.

However, most baseball people will tell you that Lee won’t lose twice in a row and that he won’t lose a big game like this.

He’s pitched in the World Series before—he’s been here, and he knows what it takes to get a win.

It’s a good thing for the Rangers because they cannot afford to lose. They want to continue to push this season one more game and take care of business tonight.

It’s Game 5 of the World Series. Are you ready?

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World Series Game 3: The Texas Rangers Need More Than One Win to Take Control

Game three of the World Series is in the books and the Texas Rangers are finally on the board.

A Mitch Moreland three-run home run, a solo shot from ALCS MVP Josh Hamilton, and solid pitching from starter Colby Lewis helped the Rangers put a 4-2 win in the books in Arlington on Saturday night.

After two demoralizing losses in San Francisco, fans here in Texas wondered if the Rangers were capable of coming back and tying the series.

When the offense went dormant on Thursday night, a collective fan base dropped their heads and didn’t know if they were ever going to be able to pick them back up again. The team wasn’t hitting, they were making mistakes, and their bullpen was just short of awful.

On Saturday afternoon, as fans began to file into the stadium, they wanted to believe that their team wasn’t ready to quit. They wanted to believe that there was still a little magic left in the Rangers’ tank and they were hoping they would see that come out in game three.

When Moreland lined his three-run shot to right, the fans exploded. It was the first time in three games they were really able to cheer for anything at all. It was the first time they were able to really throw their hands up, yell, and scream.

It was also the first time their team had a lead since game one. They wanted this win, they needed this win, and they got it.

Lewis came in on Saturday night and did exactly what the team needed him to do. But not only that, the bullpen did their job as well. Darren O’Day came in to the game in the eighth inning, an inning that has plagued the Rangers through the first two games, and although it was scary, he got the job done.

Then, in the ninth, it was Neftali Feliz who shut the door on the Giants and made it look easy although it was his first World Series appearance in his career.

With one win under their belt, the Rangers and their fans can rest a little bit easier, knowing that a small chunk of the Giants’ lead is gone.

But with one win comes even more challenges and even more obstacles this team will have to overcome.

They will need to keep themselves grounded. They will need to keep themselves from getting too high on the performance they put in game three. They have a job to do and they still have ground to make up.

Scheduled to go to the mound on Sunday is right-hander Tommy Hunter, a guy who has struggled throughout the playoffs.

That has brought up a whole new set of questions, actually just one question and one that was asked by the media to manager Ron Washington during his post game press conference after game three.

“Ron, is there any thought to bringing Cliff Lee back on short rest to start game four?” Ron’s answer was a simple, “no.”

That question was asked again during the post game show on Fox Channel 4 here in Dallas. The answer to that is simple. Lee’s numbers when pitching on short rest are not good and his performance in game one was not enough to think he’d be any better in a ballpark that plays smaller than AT&T Park in San Francisco.

On one hand, I understand why the question came up and I understand those who think Lee should go on three days rest. However, if you lose game four, then you’re almost forced to come back with C.J. Wilson also on three days rest. You put yourself in a bad situation that way.

Going with Tommy Hunter will give him the confidence to go out there and do what he needs to do to get the job done. This Giants’ offense is a potent one without question, but they’re not unbeatable.

Hunter needs to trust his stuff, he needs to trust that he can get the job done, and he needs to trust the guys behind him. Throw first pitch strike, keep the ball away from the middle of the plate, and throw the right pitches at the right time.

If he can do that and if he can keep his confidence up for at least six innings, he can allow his bullpen to do the rest.

The Rangers got their first win, but they’re a long ways from climbing back in this series. This is a good Giants’ ball club and they’re not going to give up wins. They’ll continue to fight all the way through and not give you an inch.

You hate to use the old cliche but it’s one the Rangers need to use starting Sunday night. “One game at a time, one win at a time.”

Take care of tomorrow, get the win, then worry about what comes next. If they do that, they won’t have to play with their backs against the wall.

Get yourself back into this series, than go and take control of it.

The Texas Rangers have their destiny in their own hands and they know exactly how to handle things from here. As long as they do what they’re capable of doing and putting together the kind of effort we saw from them in the ALCS against the New York Yankees, this series won’t be just tied up, but the Rangers will have the lead going back to San Francisco.

The 2010 World Series isn’t over yet. It’s only just begun.

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