Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cubs bid farewell to Derrek Lee

As a member of the Florida Marlins, Derrek Lee helped ruin the Cubs' best chance to make it to the World Series in the last 26 years. A year later, he came to North side in a trade for Hee-Seop Choi and has manned first base for the last seven years, hitting 179 home runs (11th most in franchise history) and batting .298 in that time. He finished third in the MVP vote in 2005 and made two All-Star teams while in Chicago, and is one of the top 10 first basemen ever to don Cubbie blue. He also served as a team leader and a calm presence in a not-always serene clubhouse.

But with free agency looming and an OPS lower than Lee's seen in over a decade, Jim Hendry took advantage of the opportunity to move him to a contender. Needing offense after a season-ending injury to Chipper Jones, the Braves moved in on D Lee and shipped three prospects to the Cubs. Lee earlier nixed a potential trade to the Angels, perhaps because they were and are on the periphery of the playoff race, but accepted a trade out East to the division-leading Braves.

Though Lee has not looked the same this season and has battled the injury bug a bit, I will certainly look fondly on his time with the Cubs. He and Aramis Ramirez secured the corner infield positions as well as the three-four spots in the lineup for seven seasons, and he has been one of the most consistent and productive Cubs hitters of the last quarter-century. In addition, he won three Gold Gloves at the most important position in the field.

With that said, it was a no-brainer for Hendry as he turned what would have become nothing into a potential something. From MLB Trade Rumors:

Chicago gets right-hander Robinson Lopez, right-hander Tyrelle Harris and left-hander Jeffrey Lorick according to the Cubs, who will send the Braves money in the deal.

Baseball America ranked Lopez 16th among Braves prospects before the season and suggested that he "may be the biggest sleeper in the [Atlanta] system." He's still just 19, but his numbers in A ball haven't been as impressive as the ones he posted in his Rookie ball debut last year. Lopez has a 4.37 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 so far in 2010.

Harris, 23, has played at three levels this season and has now reached AA. Overall, the reliever has a 2.90 ERA with 10.9 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9. Lorick, also a reliever, has yet to reach AA, but the 22-year-old has solid numbers so far in 2010: a 2.24 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9.

As always, we'll have to wait and see how this trade ultimately pans out. But for now, kudos to Hendry for getting something done even after the trade deadline, and I bid a fond farewell to Derrek Lee. I wish him the best; I'd have no problem seeing him win his second World Series ring a couple months from now.

1 comment:

  1. I'm ok with D. Lee winning another world series .. but not with the annoying, tomahawk-chopping Braves. I'll miss him - he's a class act.