He went 4-6 with a 3.98 ERA in 15 starts with the Rangers after he was traded from the Seattle Mariners. Lee was outstanding during his first four starts in the playoffs, going 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA and 34 strikeouts. However, Lee imploded during the World Series and lost two games.
Neither the Rangers nor Lee have won a World Series, but a reunion could bring them what they are both seeking. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports has noted that Lee could be an trade option for the Rangers if they are not able to bring in Zack Greinke or Cole Hamels.
With the Milwaukee Brewers uncertain if they are sellers (h/t Andy Martino of the New York Daily News) and the Philadelphia Phillies entering more intense negotiations for a Hamels extension (h/t Jayson Stark of ESPN), it seems as if Lee may be the best option for the Rangers.
The Rangers certainly have the prospects to go after Lee, sine they have one of the best farm systems in baseball. His price tag will not be as high as some other starters because of both his numbers this season as well as all of the money that he is owed.
If the Phillies reach a monster deal with Hamels, then they may look to deal Lee to free up some salary moving forward, since he is owed $25 million in each of the next three years.
While the Rangers have a number of good starting pitchers in their starting rotation at the moment, they do not have a bona fide ace. The back end of their rotation has also been an issue as the Rangers have given 10 different pitchers a chance to start so far this year.
Should the Texas Rangers trade for Cliff Lee?
Lee could be that ace for the Rangers this season and over the next few years. He would provide stability at the top of their rotation, and it would also give the Rangers the ability to slide a pitcher down in their rotation. This would also allow the Rangers to trade one of their current starters to bring in another piece that they could be interested in.
Pairing Lee with Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison would give the Rangers a pretty formidable starting rotation for the playoffs. They would then have a number of options, including Neftali Feliz, Colby Lewis and Derek Holland for the fourth spot in the playoff rotation.
Texas has the offense they need to get back to the World Series for the third straight season, but they likely do not have the pitching to win it at this point. They are close, but adding Lee would certainly put them over the edge.
There would be almost no doubt that the Rangers would become the World Series favorites, if they are not already, if they added Lee. All the pieces would then be in place for the Rangers to take the Commissioner's Trophy to Arlington.