We talked about the possibility last week that Texas Rangers legend Cliff Lee could return to Arlington before the July 31 trade deadline as the Philadelphia Phillies, the team he chose over the Rangers after the 2010 season, will certainly be sellers.
After CBS Sports' Danny Knobler listed Lee as a possible "long shot" for the Rangers if Cole Hamels or Zack Greinke fell through the cracks, his CBS Sports compadre Jon Heyman reported that Lee's 21-team no-trade list in his contract does not include the Rangers.
That shouldn't come as a surprise, as Lee reportedly loved his four months in Texas but decided his family was better off in Philadelphia for several reasons, including medical access for a sick child and the terrible traffic in DFW. He seemed to fit in well with the Rangers' clubhouse and took ownership in the Rangers' starting rotation, grooming guys like C.J. Wilson to become one of the best starting pitchers in the game.
If the Rangers acquire Lee at the deadline, it won't be a four-month deal because he'll be under contract until the 2016 season, which carries a club option. That's at least three more years of Lee at the top of the rotation, if not four. So why not do it? Well, his contract is pricey and would most likely mean the team couldn't re-sign guys like Mike Napoli or Nelson Cruz, and Josh Hamilton would almost certainly be out the door. But it wouldn't be out of the question to assume the Phillies would have to pick up part of the $87 million Lee is still guaranteed over the life of his contract.
Whatever happens in the next week, it's a fun thing to speculate about. All we know now is that it is a possibility, and there aren't many other teams out there that can say that.