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Those of you who follow baseball (you know who you are) are well aware that 2010 off-season prize pitcher Cliff Lee spurned both the Rangers and the Yankees in favor of the Pussydelphia Phillies.  Five years, about $100 extra-extra large (that’s million  for those of you in the Church of the SubTarded).

What you may not  know is that Lee’s agent told Rangers new owner Chuck Greenberg that all it would take for Lee to come back…was a guaranteed seventh year.

The Rangers presented Lee with a six-year offer that included an option for a seventh season. Apparently, guaranteeing the seventh season would have been enough to land Lee. That also would have reportedly taken the value of the contract past $160 million. It also would have been for two more guaranteed seasons than Lee ultimately signed for.

“There was a point at which we were told ‘if you do x, we’ll sign’,” Greenberg said. “Though we had been aggressive in pursuing him, that was beyond what we felt comfortable with, particularly in terms of years.”

So basically, what you’ve got here is the Rangers balking at a seventh year of guaranteed salary – an extra $20-some-odd million.

Now, the comments in this blog entry are running heavily in favor of the Rangers for not caving into Lee’s demand for that seventh year, by which time Lee would be nearing 40 years of age.  I – as you might’ve guessed – have a different view.

Cliff Lee is a way-above-average quality pitcher.  As of now, at 33 years old, he’s an ace.  A number-one-spot pitching stud.  The type that doesn’t come along very often, and hasn’t around here in roughly 30 years.

At age 40, the skills may well have diminished, but the guess from here is that he’ll still be a good fourth or fifth starter.  Considering that the Rangers tried folks like Rich Harden, Scott Feldman, Doug Mathis, Dustin Nippert and Matt Harrison in the fifth spot last season, they could certainly do worse.  Besides, this guy isn’t Chan-Ho Park.  Cliff Lee knows how to get people out in parks other  than Dodger Stadium.

The Rangers, in desperate need of continued street credibility after their World Series appearance last year – spit the bit and choked on the asking price.  In other words, the current Greenberg/Nolan Ryan regime did exactly what its predecessor did – turned squeamish at a good pitcher asking a high price.

The guess from here is that they fail to make any significant progress in this year’s free agency, just like Tom Hicks failed to do after signing Alex Rodriguez, and they will wallow around in good-but-not-good-enough mediocrity the next few years.

And I’ll be there laughing at them, saying, “WITY?”

Memo to the stRangerS:  Mark my words, chumps.  I will have fucking  told you so!

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