George King of the New York Post reports that the Rangers are going to make a five-year offer to Cliff Lee. The Yankees may have already made one, with some putting the dollars at around $23 million a year, so they’ll have to top that. Or at least come close to it if you believe the stuff about relative tax rates and advanced metrics like WAR (Wife Agitation Rate) and APF (Arkansas Proximity Factor).
I don’t have any special insight into the Rangers’ front office on this point, but some people I talk to who say they know a little about them are skeptical that Greenberg and Ryan will lay out that kind of cash. And given that they’re apparently interested in Zack Greinke and in doing things like moving Neftali Feliz to the rotation, they are certainly prepared to go on without Lee.
But at least now, with a second official bidder, things are about to get interesting.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.