2. Cliff Lee to the Texas Rangers in exchange for 3B Mike Olt and RHP Cody Buckel
The Texas Rangers need a No. 1 starter to match up in the postseason with the Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander, the White Sox’s Chris Sale, the Tampa Bay Rays’ David Price, the New York Yankees’ CC Sabathia or the Los Angeles Angels’ Jered Weaver. General manager Jon Daniels tried to pry Zack Greinke away from the Milwaukee Brewers before he was ultimately traded to the Angels.
With Felix Hernandez not on the trade market, the only No. 1 starter that could be had is Lee of the Phillies. Mike Olt would solve the Phillies’ third base position and fifth spot in the lineup for the next decade while Buckel should develop into a middle-of-the-rotation starter. With a revised rotation of Lee, Dempster, Harrison, Darvish and Holland, the Rangers would be poised for a third chance at a World Series championship. This would be a painful deal for the Rangers -- their championship window is open right now and it could mean the difference between being the first world champion Texas Rangers squad rather than remembered as baseball’s version of the Buffalo Bills.
Different package, same story -- based on every report we've heard up to this point, there is an exceptionally small middle ground between TEX/PHI (if there is one at all), because even though this package is probably appealing to the Phillies, they're likely not willing to eat the 30-40% chunk of his remaining obligation that it would take to seriously advance the trade discussions, and the Rangers are probably quite loathe to give up that kind of talent in the first place. I don't think there was a match before the deadline, and I don't think there's a match during the waiver period, either.
The other big thing out there today is the noon deadline -- which has already come and gone -- where a team can submit a waiver claim on Lee for the purpose of working out a trade; if no team submitted a claim, the Phillies can reopen trade discussions on Lee, although the restrictions are quite a bit more onerous. I guess I just don't see anyone submitting a claim, and if the Phillies weren't serious about moving Lee last month, I don't know what would compel them to do so this month ... unless some potential Lee buyer out there has become a whole lot more desperate in a very short span of time, or unless the Phillies have realized in just the last few days that they really, really need to rid themselves of the bulk of that future obligation.
And I just don't see the Rangers being involved here. I don't see it happening this winter, either. I think that ship has sailed.