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Could Cliff Lee Come Back To The Rangers?

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Cliff Lee of the Texas Rangers reacts after hitting a double in Game 1 of the 2010 MLB World Series against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on October 27, 2010 in San Francisco, California. (credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

ARLINGTON (CBS SPORTS) - The Rangers, in search of a high-end pitcher to top their rotation, have focused their attention almost entirely on Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke. But what if they don’t get either one?

One long-shot option the Rangers would consider, according to sources, is a reunion with Cliff Lee.

There are significant obstacles to a trade with the Phillies for Lee, including a contract that guarantees him $25 million each of the next three seasons and also includes a $12.5 million buyout for 2016. But the Rangers have always liked Lee, and they did have a scout watch him Wednesday in Los Angeles, as reported by CSNPhilly’s Jim Salisbury. Lee pitched well against the light-hitting Dodgers, allowing one run on two hits in eight innings to lower his ERA to 3.72.

Of course, if the Phillies think they’re enough in the race to keep Hamels, they’d no doubt want to keep Lee as well. In any case, a Lee deal is something of a long-shot, but a fascinating one. It was the midseason deal for Lee in 2010 that helped get the Rangers to their first World Series. That winter, the Rangers tried hard to keep Lee from leaving as a free agent. Back then, he chose the Phillies instead.

Could he end up back in Texas now?

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