I know he was miserable in Game 1 of the World Series and mediocre in Game 5, but the Texas Rangers wouldn't have been to the Fall Classic in the first place without pitcher Cliff Lee.
As baseball's winter meetings start today at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, lots of talk about Lee being overpriced and 32 years old and, in the end, not necessary for the Rangers to remain among baseball's elite. I vehemently disagree.
Because in their 39-year history the Rangers - who have paid over $100 million for only one player (Alex Rodriguez) - have never had a true No. 1 ace in the prime of his career at the head of their pitching rotation.
Carl Crawford? Sure. Paul Konerko? Maybe down the line when the Hot Stove starts to cool off. But no denying the first domino is the best one - Lee.
He's one of the best big-game pitchers in baseball. The last three years he's 48-25 with a 2.98 ERA and, incredibly, 536 strikeouts to only 95 walks. He makes the other Rangers' pitchers better. He makes the Rangers contenders.
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Kansas City Royals' ace Zack Greinke is a good pitcher. But Lee is a sign to Rangers' fans - and all of baseball - that last year was no one-year wonder.
If need be, junk the new $13 million scoreboard and add it to the offer to Lee.
Last year was great and all. But it's (still) time.