Throughout the Cliff Lee free agency sweepstakes, it's been assumed that the lefty would end up either returning to the Rangers or signing with the Yankees. And, indeed, those remain by far the two most probable outcomes. But Ken Rosenthal introduces the idea that there could be a mystery team hot on the trail.
Rosenthal takes care to note that he's speculating more than anything else, but he names the Angels, Tigers, White Sox, Reds, and Phillies as teams he could see getting involved. In Rosenthal's own words:
I don't have any information that any of these clubs actually is pursuing Lee. I'm well aware that for some, his expected average salary of $23 million to $25 million would be out of range.
I'm just mapping out scenarios, playing a little GM.
Meanwhile, word is that the Rangers are setting an upper limit of five years, while the Yankees might be willing to go to six. If the Yankees offer Lee a six-year contract while the Rangers stay at five, then that could put New York over the top. The Rangers really need Lee to be willing to make a sacrifice in order to remain closer to his Arkansas home.