The Texas Rangers are already one of the top teams in baseball, but if they can find a way to add Cliff Lee to their rotation before the trade deadline, they will officially become the favorite to win the World Series.
With the Rangers in the market to add another quality starter before the deadline, Lee makes a lot of sense as an addition. And as Jim Salisbury of CSN reported, the Rangers had a scout in attendance for Lee's last start with the Phillies in Los Angeles.
Top Rangers scout in attendance for Phils-Dodgers (Lee vs. Kershaw) today. Interesting.— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) July 18, 2012
The Rangers traded for Lee back in 2010, a move that led to a World Series appearance before Lee chose to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies the next season. However, the Phillies have surprisingly tanked this season and should be sellers as the trade deadline approaches.
Lee has a 1-6 record this season, but that is more of a reflection on the poor run support that he has received from the struggling Phillies offense. Ranger fans would like to see the team go after Lee's teammate, Cole Hamels, but according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com the Phillies are prepared to offer Hamels a six-year deal worth $130 million.
With Hamels presumably off the market, Lee would make for a great backup plan.
Lee's 1.16 WHIP and 106 K's in 111 innings pitched shows that Lee is still capable of putting together great starts. With a much better team surrounding him in Texas, his numbers have no place to go but up.
The Rangers explosive offense has made them one of the best teams in baseball and they should continue to pile up the runs as the season wears on. However, if they want to make a return trip to the World Series they will need proven pitching that can get them there.
Lee may not be the trade target that fans and the front office had in mind, but Lee would undoubtedly give the Rangers the boost they need to make a serious run at winning a championship.