FORT WORTH, Texas - Cliff Lee's last pitch to the Texas Rangers was too much.
Though the Rangers really wanted to keep the ace who helped them get to their first World Series, they weren't willing to guarantee a seventh year on an already extended contract offer.
"There was a lot of back and forth. There was a point at which they said if you will do 'X,' we would agree to terms," Rangers managing partner Chuck Greenberg said Tuesday. "Those terms went beyond the parameters that we were comfortable with, specifically in years."
So after having the pitcher for half a season, the American League champions will have to figure out life after Lee, and who can fill the void at the top of their rotation.
Instead of staying with Texas or joining the New York Yankees, who were willing to go to seven years, the 32-year-old Lee is returning to the Phillies for a $120 million, five-year deal.
"I was under the impression that it was between us and the Yankees," Rangers team president Nolan Ryan said.
So was just about everyone else until late Monday.
After finding out that the Phillies also were talking to Lee, the Rangers refused to go beyond a six-year deal that was among several options they already had offered the lefthander.
"We went as far as we were comfortable going, probably past what we were comfortable doing," general manager Jon Daniels said.
"We're ready to move on," he said. "We've talked about a number of different options internally. We've had a number of different discussions with agents and other clubs."
Daniels wouldn't get into specifics, but the Rangers could try to acquire 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke from Kansas City or Matt Garza from Tampa Bay.
Another possible option is moving AL rookie of the year Neftali Feliz, the hard-throwing righthander who set a rookie record with 40 saves, into the rotation with lefthander C.J. Wilson, another former closer-turned-starter who won 15 games, and Colby Lewis.
Other internal possibilities include Alexi Ogando, Derek Holland, and Michael Kirkman.
"No decision has been made now, other than we're going to look at it," Daniels said. "We can't ignore that our best options might be here in-house."
The Rangers also could try to get better by bolstering the offense led by AL MVP Josh Hamilton, who led the majors with a .359 batting average.
"We have all our financial resources available to us, have all our prospects available," Greenberg said. "While we're disappointed we don't have Cliff, we have a great sense of anticipation about how we're going to be able to deploy those resources to keep getting better, get back where we were, and take the next step."
Lee helped the Rangers reach the first World Series in their 50-season history. He won the opening and clinching games against Tampa Bay in the AL division series for Texas' first-ever postseason series victory, then beat the Yankees on the road in the AL Championship Series.
But he lost both World Series starts against San Francisco, including the Game 5 clincher for the Giants.