Why Rangers scored big win in midst of Lee’s exit

Dallas Morning News

December 18, 2010

The Rangers’ new ownership and multi-layered management group scored a major victory for themselves last week.

They let Cliff Lee walk.

Oh, don’t worry, we’re not going to beat you to death with another essay examining whether Lee is worth the $120 million Philadelphia will be paying him over the next five years. It’s not about whether the Rangers should or shouldn’t have gone to a guaranteed seventh year in order to keep Lee in Texas. And it has nothing to do with whether Neftali Feliz is ready to move into the starting rotation.

It’s all about a management team moving in sync. The Lee negotiation was the first real test for an ownership and management group large enough to almost fill out a diamond. In addition to a pair of big-money backers (Bob Simpson and Ray Davis), there is an involved CEO (Chuck Greenberg), who also happens to be a part owner; a baseball-savvy president (Nolan Ryan), who also happens to be a part owner; and, of course, a GM in Jon Daniels.

There are a lot of different minds with the potential for a lot of different priorities. And that can lead to a messy stew. Instead, the Rangers, as a group, pushed the boundaries of their comfort level to guarantee Lee a sixth year, but refused to let emotions or competitiveness sway them away from principle.