There will always be warm thoughts around these parts for Cliff Lee, or at least there should be.
Sure, Lee bailed on the Rangers and signed somewhere else after spending four months getting the Rangers to their first playoff series win and their first World Series. But he bailed for less money than the Rangers offered after going with his heart and going somewhere he was comfortable with for many reasons, the Philadelphia Phillies.
There was talk of Lee returning at the trade deadline this past season, but nothing ever materialized even though the Phillies were out of contention before clawing their way back in only to come up short.
Now, the talk is out there again. How could the Texas Rangers get Cliff Lee back as the Phillies look to try to cut payroll wherever they can as they seem to be in a rebuilding mode. Sure, Lee isn't what he was back in 2010, but he's still really good. And he's still a postseason monster.
ESPN blogger David Schoenfield suggested a big trade between the Rangers and Phillies, which it should be said is pure speculation with no substance, but that's what the winter is for, right?
Schoenfield suggests the Rangers should send a package of Mike Olt, Martin Perez, Leonys Martin and Cody Buckel to the Phillies for Lee, outfielder Nate Schierholtz and reliever Antonio Bastardo:
For the Rangers, Schierholtz is a solid platoon outfielder and gives them flexibility to move Nelson Cruz to DH. Bastardo is a nice lefty arm for a bullpen that had only one southpaw (Robbie Ross) most of the season.
The Rangers could use more lefty presence in their pen, and I agree with the Schierholtz part, as well. What the Rangers would give up is big, but it doesn't include Jurickson Profar or Elvis Andrus, which seem to be the big hurdle for the Rangers making big moves now. If Perez or Buckel could be left out, it'd be a slam dunk deal, but it'd be a good one regardless.