"I'm not surprised by anything that happens in baseball," Washington said. "I wondered if they'd get involved because he played there before. He did what he felt was best for him and his family. I wish him well."
Washington said the club must now turn its attention toward other opportunities to bolster the starting rotation.
"Will the Texas Rangers fold their tent? No, I don't think so," Washington said. "We're going to continue to work and make sure we have the best team possible by the time the season opens. You always want to improve. We have a young pitching staff and we'd like a No. 1 starter. But we're no different than any team in that respect. If we can't get our hands on one, we'll go with what we got."
The rotation is currently led by left-hander C.J. Wilson, who won 15 games in 2010 after moving from the bullpen into a starting role, and right-hander Colby Lewis, twice a winner over the Yankees in the ALCS. The Rangers have other candidates with starting experience, like Tommy Hunter and Derek Holland, who will head to spring training looking to join the rotation. Neftali Feliz might be joining them as well. The Rangers are going to stretch out Feliz, the reigning AL Rookie of the Year, as a starter and see how he does in spring training before deciding whether he should start in 2011 or continue in his role as the club's closer.
Washington said Lee will certainly be missed. And the manager was appreciative of what the ace did for his ballclub.
"It was a shot in the arm, bringing in a quality guy like that over there," Washington said. "He made an impression on everyone around him. He made an impression on our pitching staff and he's done that everywhere he's been. That's what Cliff Lee does."
Washington knows the Phillies now have an even more formidable rotation. And the Rangers will see part of that staff in 2011 as they face the Phillies in Philadelphia May 20-22.
"Bring them on," Washington said. "They have a great pitching staff, that's for sure. But it only matters how you play that day. We'll have to be ready."
Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com.