“Cliff Lee for Free?”

So the Cliff Lee sweepstakes ended pretty quickly and smooth.  Thanks God!  There was no drama.  There was no hour-long television special.  And I can’t say I am disappointed by this.  At first it looked as if Lee would be headed to play for the Bronx Bombers.  Then all the sudden the Texas Rangers took over and acquired the ace.  Nolan Ryan and the Texas Rangers made a statement by getting Lee.  They are looking to get that ring this year.  Making the playoffs is not enough.

And I will tell you what, the Rangers needed Lee.  This team is doing outstanding and currently is 5.5 games up in the AL West with a 50 and 35 record.  It is unquestioned this team can hit the crap out of the ball.  They are 2nd in the League with a .280 overall team batting average.  This team has 5 guys batting over .300!  Not to mention the shortstop Elvis Andrus is batting just a hair under .300.  There are a good few teams in the League with 0 players hitting over .300.  They also have the 2nd most hits in the League.  So you know they are putting that ball in play.  But their pitching has been shaky at best.

They are 10th in the AL in ERA and 9th in K’s.  For a team that is looking to play deep in the playoffs, this type of pitching will catch up with you.  And of all people, Nolan Ryan understands the correlation between strong pitching and winning.  Currently, the Rangers have been riding their top 2 starters, CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis.  Neither of these guys have been amazing, but they have gotten the job done and ate up some innings for this Ranger’s squad.  Everyone knows that this team has the ability to out slug nearly every team in the League.  Guerrero and Hamilton might be the deadliest combo at the plate in the entire MLB this year.  But come September, bats tend to slow down and pitching becomes even more important.

You must have a lock down ace like a Cliff Lee to go deep into October.  Well the Rangers showed they were up to the task and gave up 3 prospects and their 1st baseman Justin Smoak.  So though they gave up 4 guys, they really did not lose all that much and they showed that they want to go for the title now.  This should be a good sign to guys like Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero.  Management wants to win in the present.  Not in the future.  As Apollo Creed said in Rocky III, “There is no tomorrow!  There is no tomorrow Rock!”

I will state that teams such as the Reds and Yankees missed out on a stud.  I am not saying they blew it.  But the Texas Rangers went out and got their man.  Now they are sitting awful pretty.

Are there any other big moves forthcoming in the near future?

It feels like just yesterday that Cliff Lee signed with the Seattle Mariners. Well now he is signing with a contending team, the Texas Rangers.

Can the Rangers ride Cliff Lee to the AL Pennant this year?

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze

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