The Rangers went to visit Cliff Lee yesterday

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Anthony Andro of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that a contingent from the Rangers flew to Arkansas yesterday to meet with Cliff Lee.

But wait! I thought he wasn’t listening! I thought he was in a duck blind somewhere, thinking about anything other than baseball. But I guess this is just arms race stuff, what with the Yankees having already sent Brian Cashman down.  “Ha! You sent your GM?  We sent a GM and two owners too!”

According to Andro the meeting lasted approximately two hours.  I’m going to assume unless told otherwise that the entirety of the conversation was about how awful New York and their fans are.

And just wait: tomorrow we’ll hear reports from Lee’s friends talking about how it was odd that Brian Cashman wouldn’t accept Kristen Lee’s offer of sweet tea, and how Chuck Greenberg sat in “the good chair.”  We, of course, will follow up with instant hot stove analysis of these critical developments.

Nick Markakis leads all NL outfielders in All-Star voting

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I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.

Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.

The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.

Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.

Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.

The rest of the voting: