- Tim MacMahon, ESPNDallas.com
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"I like this team. It's a very fun team to play on," Lee said. "I expect this team to do some really good things next year. I don't know if I'm going to be a part of it or not. To be honest with you, I would love to be, but so many things can happen. You never know."
The only destination Lee will commit to right now is his native Arkansas, where he'll go to relax and spend time with his family. Moments after the season ended, Lee didn't want to discuss the business decisions he'll make in the coming months.
But Lee left no question that he could envision himself in a Rangers uniform for years to come.
"There's a lot to build on," Lee said after taking the loss in the World Series finale. "We did a lot of firsts for this organization. We were the second-best team in the big leagues. We should be proud of that. We're going to use this for motivation and come in next year and try to do better."
Lee's use of "we" shouldn't be confused with a commitment, but it could be considered an indication of which way his heart is tugging him as he enters free agency.
Perhaps the New York Yankees will place a bid that the Rangers can't come close to matching. The Rangers, however, fully intend to at least make it a difficult decision for Lee to leave.
"We've made it clear we'd like to have him back," general manager Jon Daniels said. "I know we're not the only club that would like to have him. It's a competitive market, as it should be, and we'll see what happens."
Added CEO Chuck Greenberg: "We think we've got a lot of great things to offer here. He and his family have certainly gotten a taste of that. We've got a great future as an organization and we're going to be prepared to be aggressive to help make his decision easier. But, at the end of the day, it is his decision."
Tim MacMahon is a reporter and columnist for ESPNDallas.com.
Cliff Lee "would love to be" part of the Texas Rangers next season. He's just not sure if that's what will happen.