If there was supposed to be one lock for the Rangers this offseason, it was re-signing veteran RHP Colby Lewis.
Today, though, Evan Grant reports that the Texas front office failed to reach an early agreement with Lewis, and he intends to test the free agent market.
There are a couple ways of looking at this. For the Rangers, a team relatively desperate to add a #3 and #4 starting pitcher this offseason, the news is obviously unfortunate. At least for now. Ideally they would have had Cobra squared away, inked to a cheap one-year deal so they could focus on more pressing issues, such as an outfielder/DH and a starter to slot behind Yu Darvish and Derek Holland. The fact they couldn't come to a compromise implies they probably low-balled Lewis and he thinks he can do better elsewhere.
Secondly, for Lewis, a pitcher who rejuvenated his career in Texas after pitching in Japan, missed a season-and-a-half recovering from degenerative hips and was still brought back last season on a good faith contract, the figure he received must've been comically short of what he was anticipating. Especially since he comes across, through his own words, as someone who wants to pitch for the Rangers.
This issue is compounded by the idea that Texas doesn't plan on increasing payroll in 2015, meaning they only have about $20 million to play with this offseason if they are to stay at roughly $135 million. Given Colby's age and injury history, it would be difficult for the Rangers to commit $7-$8 million to Lewis and still be able to ascertain another starter -- even via trade -- and a bat with the remaining $12 million.
I'm all for Lewis seeking his market value, and it could be a situation where he finds a total he likes and brings it back to the Rangers to see if they'll match it, but from the Rangers perspective they have to be smart with the limited resources they have at their disposal. I'd love for an agreement to be reached at some point, but Texas clearly have a figure in their head, and aren't going to deviate too far from it if it hinders everything else they plan on doing this winter.