Cliff Lee Sweepstakes: How the Texas Rangers Can Win the Battle

Brian HaleContributor IDecember 2, 2010

Lee should remain a Ranger for years to come
Lee should remain a Ranger for years to comeRonald Martinez/Getty Images

The well-documented, off-season story regarding free agent pitcher Cliff Lee has gained so much intensity, multiple radio stations in Dallas are broadcasting hourly updates on the sweepstakes to sign the coveted previous Cy Young winner.

Just don't expect a one-hour special on ESPN announcing Lee's decision. It's not his style.

Neither are the bright lights of New York City.

Speculation abounds that Lee covets the bright lights and bipolar fans of Yankee Stadium due to playing in the shadows of many sub-mediocre teams during his career.

Analysts claim he wants what he has earned: Big money and a big market. But the latter also comes with a big load to carry.

The Yankees are aging. Their rotation (other than Lee) is old and very questionable. The franchise's all-time hits leader, and no-doubt future Hall of Fame inductee, cannot agree on a new deal. The fan base is comparable to the much-envied friendlies in Philly (insert reminder of the incident with Lee's wife during the ALCS, here).

Sure, the Yankees have money to spend. Nothing is more certain every off-season except for Death and Taxes. But Lee isn't about the "glitz and glam" of the Big Apple. He realizes there are more important things in life than money and baseball.

Lee has publicly commented on his desire to play for an organization that has a great chance to win multiple World Championships for the foreseeable future.

He has also stated he would love to be close to his family in Benton, Arkansas.

He said he loves the Dallas area and his wife loves the Dallas area.

He said he enjoyed his time with the Rangers and loved the camaraderie within the team.

Did I mention New York has a state income tax?

Welcome to Texas.

We don't pay state income tax.

Our Ballpark is known around MLB as being very family-driven. Going home to Benton is only a 45-minute flight. The Rangers reached the first-ever Fall Classic with a nucleus of young players who have not yet reached their prime. The farm system is again ranked among the best in baseball.

What was it Lee said after being traded from the Mariners in July? It's hot? 

Welcome to Texas.

We have the hottest summer playing conditions in all of baseball. But, let's examine. With July and August being the most sweltering, Lee would make approximately six home starts each season during those months. That's all. What's wrong with sweating a little? Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg sit outside in the heat with the fans every game. 

Speaking of the Rangers' new owners, what better ownership could a prime pitcher ask for than the legendary Hall of Famer, Nolan Ryan?

Greenberg and Ryan have publicly acknowledged their desire and determination to bring a World Championship to Texas. They've locked up the best GM in the game to prove that.

John Daniels has proven his ability and dedication to the franchise and taken it to a world class organization in just a few years.

With great ownership, great teammates, close proximity to his Arkansas home, and a good young group of players behind him, the only thing Lee needs to do is sign on the dotted line.

But what will he demand?

The Rangers are prepared to offer Lee a five year deal believed to be around $20 million per season.

If the Yankees offer the same money for an extra sixth year, will Lee bail on Big D and bolt for the Big Apple?

Don't count on it.

Believe it or not, Yankees, there is more to Lee than money. 

Cliff, Welcome to Texas.