Cliff Lee says rumored affinity for Yankees is "a lie"

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Take one listen to the Colin Cowherd radio program — “The Herd,” I believe it’s called — and it’s not hard to conceive why people don’t take the guy seriously. 

Cowherd is loud and far from level-headed, and on Monday he made a few ridiculous comments regarding Rangers ace Cliff Lee.

Lee was shelled for eight earned runs on 10 hits against the light-hitting Orioles this weekend.  Instead of chalking it up as a rare bad outing — the type of which every great pitcher has experienced — Cowherd asserted that the left-handed Lee was not trying, and that he “mailed it in” against Baltimore because he “doesn’t care about Texas.”

Cowherd went on to say that sources have told him Lee “will not re-sign with Texas” because he wants to be a Yankee.

That drew a response from Lee on Monday night, via ESPNDallas.com:

“It’s a lie,” Lee said. “Write that. Are you writing? Write that it’s a
lie. I did not say that and nobody close to me would say that. Either
say who the source is or shut up because I am saying it is not true.”

We’re going to side with Lee on this one.  He’s been lights-out, for the most part, since the Rangers acquired him in July and a few bumps in the road don’t necessitate the creation of conspiracy theories. 

A better assumption, if assumptions are even needed, is that the left-hander is focused on reaching the playoffs with his current first-place club and not worried about his impending free agency.  At least not yet.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics