Is Cliff Lee the same guy he was in 2010, when the Rangers acquired him in July and rode him through the postseason to not only their first postseason series win but their first World Series appearance? Quick answer: No.
Can Cliff Lee even pitch at a big-league level anymore? Quick answer: Who knows?
Lee didn't pitch in 2015 after being diagnosed with torn flexor tendon, similar to an injury Colby Lewis had surgically repaired and was able to bounce back from. Lee opted for rest instead of surgery, and he's been medically cleared to throw. But what he has is still to be determined.
Here's what we know: Lee is waiting at his home in Arkansas for a phone call from a club looking for his services. His only requirement we know of is that he wants to pitch for a contender. Well, hello, Mr. Lee.
The original thought out there among baseball folks was that Lee would be looking for something around $8 million to pitch for one season in a sort of make-good year to show teams he still has it as he's set to turn 38 years old in August. But no one has called. What if the Rangers could get him on a one-year deal for $5m or $6 million? Throw in a few incentives and you might have a deal.
What you would have is one of the greatest postseason pitchers in history and a guy who is nothing short of a mythical figure in Dallas-Fort Worth for that magical run he provided in his four-month stint with the Rangers in 2010.
So again, would Cliff Lee in 2016 be Cliff Lee in 2010? No. But with his easy delivery and his ability to pitch well without relying on velocity, he could easily be a guy that could step in and be a No. 2 starter — at least a very good No. 3 starter.
With Yu Darvish on the shelf until at least mid-May and his performance when he does return a bit of a question mark coming off Tommy John, getting Lee into a Rangers uniform could fortify a rotation that looks really good on paper but really questionable with all things considered.