The Texas Rangers were thought to be out of the starting pitching market because the cost was too great. Yet, as we know with trade talks, everything is so fluid that what you hear one minute means nothing the next.
Update: July 30, 2012 at 5:09 p.m. EDT by Tim Keeney:
Not so fast, Rangers fans. Cliff Lee certainly would have turned Texas from a world series contender into a world series favorite, but it sounds like such a trade isn't going to happen (via ESPN's Jayson Stark):
Source says Cliff Lee deal to Texas is "not going to happen." More to come at ESPN.com— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 30, 2012
Nonetheless, you can rest assured that with the Rangers trying to hold off the Athletics and Angels in the AL West, and the Phillies all but out of it in the NL East, Texas will continue to try to add depth while Philly will continue to try to add prospects as the trade deadline approaches.
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Source:Cliff Lee is in play in trade talks today. Rangers obviously the most logical landing spot, with 3B Mike Olt as possible centerpiece.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 30, 2012
The need on both sides would make this a logical fit. The Phillies aren't going to the playoffs this season, nor will they have a lot of money to repair their fractured lineup because they are paying Ryan Howard a vast fortune to do nothing.
Starting pitching has become a huge problem for the Rangers this season. Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis are the only starters they can keep healthy. With Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz and Roy Oswalt all missing time--or in Oswalt's case, missing time and underperforming—the Rangers need depth and impact in the rotation.
Plus, the Rangers are no doubt feeling the heat from the Oakland A's and Los Angeles Angels in the American League West. They still hold a 4.5-game lead, but they are clearly vulnerable.
Lee would bring tremendous value because he is signed for three more seasons beyond 2012, which is not the case with recently-traded Zack Greinke.
Dealing Olt would be a blow to the Rangers system, but they are set at third base for the next few years with Adrian Beltre, and potentially getting more than three years of Lee for him would be much better for them than just two months of someone like Greinke.