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Is Nolan Ryan backing down from a Yankee gunfight?

Dec 9, 2010, 2:29 AM EDT

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We have a good idea of what the Yankees have offered to free agent Cliff Lee — six years and $140 million, at least initially — but what about the Rangers?

Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News spoke with club president Nolan Ryan on Wednesday at the Winter Meetings, and Ryan told him that the Rangers are asking Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker, to “tell them what it would take to sign” the ace lefty.

Odd, right?  Most front offices would simply make a solid counter-offer and hope for the best.

It sounds like Ryan is wary of getting into a bidding war with the Yankees, however unavoidable it may be.  That, or the Rangers are so confident in their ability to sign the left-hander that they are offering a proverbial blank check.  We’re thinking it’s the former.

The Yankees seem really serious about wanting Lee.  So much so that they haven’t made significant contact with any other free agent this winter.  When they fall in love with a player, and are given an opportunity to sign that player, it’s not often that it falls flat.

Oh, and you know they’re going to want to steal the spotlight from the Red Sox, who just made Carl Crawford the highest-paid outfielder in major league history.

Eyes are upon you, Texas.

Nolan and his partner Chuck Greenberg won the ownership rights to the Rangers in August after bidding $593 million and besting Mark Cuban.  Can they now go to seven years and $163 million for Lee?  If Crawford can get a seven-year, $142 million pact from Boston, $160-plus million may be the going rate for baseball’s best strike-thrower.

  1. Jonny 5 - Dec 9, 2010 at 8:29 AM

    If I were Nolan Ryan, (besides popping “Cash” in the nose) I would do exactly what you’re implying he may be doing. I don’t think it’s due to being afraid of a bidding war, as much as it has something to do with Nolan Ryan knowing Lee would prefer to play in Texas.. If that were the case, after seeing what the Yanks offer, he would then say “Ok Lee, what does it take to keep you here?” And if he really wants to stay, he won’t go back to the Yankees for the counteroffer, we’ll hear of the signing by the weekend as we were told we would. Or he’ll play the field and a bidding war will begin….

  2. Old Gator - Dec 9, 2010 at 8:42 AM

    It’s the classic Regeneration through Violence scenario, Craig. Eastern greenhorns (the Steinbrenner Boys) pledged to nonviolent budget maintenance come west carrying a holy book (full of blank checks) and hearts full of civilizing good intentions. Eastern greenhorns fall in love with lissome Texas pitcher. Brutal indigenous gunslinger (Nolan Ryan) covets pitcher and tries to bully gentle greenhorns, tries to kidnap the beloved. Eastern greenhorns are pushed beyond the breaking point and disavow their pledge of maintaining a reasonable budget, defeat brutal gunslinger in checkbook shootour and win pitcher. Does this sound familiar? No? Okay, let me refresh your memory. Here’s a nice mixed scenario:

    Gary Cooper (or Johnny Depp) and James Stewart as the Reverends Hank and Hal Steinbrenner
    Lee Marvin as Nolan Ryan.
    Grace Kelly as Cliff Lee

    There’s only one way this can end, Craig. You might as well print the legend.

    • yankeesfanlen - Dec 9, 2010 at 11:38 AM

      Beautiful mixed metaphor. You tie in “High Noon”, “TheMan Who Shot Liberty Valence” and a Hitchkockian heist together so well.

      • Old Gator - Dec 9, 2010 at 12:17 PM

        What!? You missed the subtle allusion to Dead Man? I threw it in there just for a little seasonin’ after reading Jelly Roll Morton’s recipe for jazz.

  3. Jonny 5 - Dec 9, 2010 at 9:09 AM

    Don’t worry Drew, My grandpop used to think everyone was Sonny Bono. Being called Craig is something you’ll have to get used to from some of our elderly.. I wouldn’t take it personal at all.

    Oh Hi Gator. How are you today? Fiber good?

    • Old Gator - Dec 9, 2010 at 10:55 AM

      Heh – yeah, sorry Drew. Senior moments coming thick and fast this morning. I think it’s just a holdover from some of yesterday’s threads. Tilting at “birthers” and other assorted right wingnuts makes us all a little dumber – like a contact high – but if you’re not Keith Olbermann it’s usually a temporary thing.

      Speaking of fiber, gotta go. I have to run out front and help my Metamucil delivery guy back his truck up to the chute.

      • Jonny 5 - Dec 9, 2010 at 11:13 AM

        LOL!! Did you convert the old coal chute to accept Metamucil? Genius!

      • Drew Silva - Dec 9, 2010 at 12:04 PM

        Haha. You guys rock.

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