The Texas Rangers are not on Cliff Lee's 21-team no-trade list and could view Lee as a viable option, especially if Cole Hamels signs with the Phillies, and word comes today that Hamels and the Phillies are moving in the right direction.
Lee had a nice late-year stay with the Rangers in 2010 before signing a $120 million, five-year deal with the Phillies, and the Rangers have a very short list of viable frontline trade options. Zack Greinke looks like another potential fallback if Hamels comes off the board, and the Phillies are trying hard to keep Hamels (they are said to be "moving in the right direction'' in contracts talks with Hamels).
Lee can block trades to 21 other teams, but apparently had fond enough memories of his short stay in Texas that the Rangers aren't on his list. He is an Arkansas resident. Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com first reported that Lee could be a longshot fallback option. The Rangers scouted Lee's last outing, in Los Angeles.
Lee's deal looked fair at the time, but with about $98 million to go through 2015, the Rangers (or any other interested team) would expect a major offset from the Phillies. His salary goes from $21 million to $25 million next year and stays at $25 million for the two years after that. He also has a $12.5-million buyout on his contract for 2016, bringing the total to nearly $98 million.