ARLINGTON (AP) – The Texas Rangers have offered salary arbitration to Cliff Lee, meaning the American League champions will be compensated with draft choices if the free-agent left-hander signs with another team.
Lee was a combined 12-9 with a 3.18 ERA for Seattle and Texas last season. He won three postseason games for the Rangers before two losses against San Francisco in the World Series.
“It’s pretty clear we’d love to have him back,” general manager Jon Daniels said Tuesday. “But he’s in a great spot. He’s got options.”
The Rangers and the New York Yankees already have visited Lee in his home state of Arkansas. Daniels refused to discuss specifics about any talks with Lee, who certainly will decline arbitration.
The Rangers also offered arbitration to reliever Frank Francisco, who missed the final month of the regular season and the postseason with a muscle strain in his right side.
Daniels said he expects Francisco, a former closer who became the primary setup reliever, to accept arbitration by next Tuesday’s deadline.
Texas decided against offering arbitration to catcher Bengie Molina and designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero, whose $9 million option wasn’t exercised by the team. But they both could still be back with the Rangers next season.
The Rangers already have had several conversations with Guerrero’s representatives about a new deal.
Molina had hinted at retirement during the World Series, but Daniels said there are indications that the catcher would like to play another season.