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Cubs and D-Lee Close

Cubs fans are breathing a sigh of relief as the Cubs and Derrek Lee are closing in on a contract extension in the range of five years and $65MM.  Lee for Hee Seop Choi and Mike Nannini is one of the best trades in the team's history.

Lee is a player that I think you can safely call a Baseball Prospectus miss.  In 2002, they remarked, "He's not likely to take a big step forward and really be worth five or six wins. The Marlins should get what they can from him this season, then deal him to make room for Adrian Gonzalez."

Lee was worth 12.3 wins in 2005.  He took the step forward.  While he's probably not going to earn $65MM through 2011, there simply aren't any comparable players out there who can make this kind of difference right now.   

A Lee contract extension coupled with Nick Johnson's signing really kills the 2007 first base free agent crop.  The best option would probably be Sean Casey.


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Are any of you concerned that Mark Prior was supposed to throw off a mound for the first time on Friday and we have no info if he did it, what his status is, and if he felt good. This really concerns me.

so...if this deal goes through, how would you rate it in comparison to the konerko signing, which you seemed to dislike? (in your review of mariotti on rotoauthority)

save last year, konerko and lee have had almost identical (check their similar batters on bref) careers, and this deal involves more money...and lee is 1 year older. maybe im missing something...like if wrigley inflates .slg by 150 points compared to that marlins shithole.

paying for 2005 production could be a big mistake.

see adrian beltre.

I think there will be people critical of the signing as well as people critical of NOT signing him. Either way, I'm sure Cubs mgmt can't get it right. It's a good signing, b/c that's what the market will command. It's early yet, but he's off to a good start for 06.

Jacque Jones with the bat flip...

Go CUBBIES! Beat those overrated Cards!

I was told from a few SW's I know that D-Lee's contract is basically going to be as you say but the final year was being hung up with AB or G provision to automatically kick in, with a Cubs buyout option of at least half....things might have changed since last night.

I think Lee actually turned a corner in his career last year. Konerko did that a long time ago and has reached his ceiling.

Jacque Jones with the nice homerun pimpage....flipping the bat.

Barrett goes BOOM!

Hmmm, huizenga definitely made me consider what I said about Konerko. That can be seen here:


My beef was more with Mariotti calling it a no-brainer and saying some things that weren't exactly true.

But I think I may have become a bit wiser since then (October '05). While a lot of these deals (Konerko, Lee, Damon) have little chance of providing positive value toward the end, sometimes it's just a matter of signing the best available player. So I've kind of come around on the Konerko signing - the team needs him now and had no viable alternative. You have to overpay.

That said, I like Lee long-term better than Konerko for the reason Teetz said. The 6 month age difference doesn't seem like much.

Lee is a more consistent player, a lock to be worth 6 wins since 2000 and perhaps 8 wins this year. Up until last year, Konerko had never been worth more than 4.8 wins.

And for all the offensive comparisons nobody has yet mentioned his defense. I haven't watched Konerko but from my understanding of his baseball skills aside from power he's average at best. Slow baserunner, not much defensive range, etc. Aside from Derrek's offensive contributions what has his effect been on Aramis' fielding numbers and how much will he help Cedeno get a handle on fielding in the majors. I'm willing to bet he'd rather have Lee at first than Konerko.

The only thing Miller and Morgan said last night that made any sense was the fact that in all reality if Derrek waits until the end of the season, regardless of his numbers this year, the Yankees and Red Sox could give him more money. Feasibly I could see him getting atleast $5mil to $10mil more over the length of the contract and maybe even another guaranteed year but Derrek said he doesn't want to wait it out, he wants to be a Cub and play in Chicago. I'll take it.

Check out Lee's declining strikeout numbers. That's a great trend and gives one reason to think that while we can't expect 2005 every year, he should exceed 2000-2004 consistently.

I'm not really up to speed on the quantification of speed and defense, but Lee's always metioned as one of the top fielding 1B in baseball, and his speed adds value too.

Lee should definitely be worth multiple millions more per year than Konerko.

And even if you are overpaying a little based on the BP numbers, then who do you spend your money on? Like in a roto auction, say you spend nothing and wait for the end game. You can get 23 $5 players for $1-3 each, but despite these bargain, you've only spent $50 and you'll finish in last.

I would say it's impossible to have a payroll above, say, $60M, and NOT overpay for anyone.

I actually think that signing lee is a good idea, but I did want to see monger's reaction vis-a-vis the konerko signing...and yes, the tendency to overstate the case a bit and to have one's ire provoked in analysis should be considered reasonable when responding to mariotti. ugh.

looking up those past winshares was surprising...I didn't realize that lee bested PK's OPS in most of the past few years.

cubfan: I did neglect defensive contributions, but I tend to think that lee is a bit overrated and konerko a bit underrated in that area. The numbers that are available to me (yes, i know they're all garbage stats-although even PMR rates PK a bit higher)seem to support that for 05 at least.

you are right, though, konerko is THE slowest player on earth.

Here's a good question. What kind of contract would Derrek Lee command if he played through this season and, again, put up great numbers? Something like .310/.410/.600 with 40ish homeruns and 115 RBI's.

Since the 1B crop is so thin, I think he would command a significant amount more than what he will sign with the Cubs.

Prior is scheduled for a bullpen seccision, and from there, Rothschild will decide how far behind Prior really is. Thus, there will be a decision when Prior will return. So far, they have said, (and yes, even Will Carrol said this) is ahead of schedule, and Prior is throwing better than expected. They have been working on mechanics lately (for Wood mainly), and lately, Wood has been looking sharp on t he mound (again, its from will Caroll). Wade Miller jus started throwing 50 pitches off the mound, and Miller is 1-2 weeks behind Wood. IM HOPEFUL ROTHSCHILD HAS FIXED WOODS MECHANICS AND PRIOR CAN RETURN WITH BETTER ARM STRENGTH. With the offence the cubs have, we can turn out to be even scarier than the Whitesox/Redsox, or hell, any other team for a long time for many years.

Im optimisitc this team can survive the first month without Prior, Wood, and Miller. Marshall seems to be a promsing pitcher, and from his first start in Wrigely, he will have more confidence on the mound.

I don't think Wood's mechanics are fixed; I believe that is a months-long process. But I do think he can get his way through 150 good innings in a contract year.

I agree if we can get Prior, Wood, and even Miller all healthy, we could be unstoppable. The key word being if!!! We have a great lineup with a leadoff man for once. Michael Barrett and Jacque Jones are also going to be crucail!!

Either way we started off by Sweeping those damn CARDS!!!

5 year/65 million contract. A steal for Derrek Lee, who could have commanded much more from the Yankees in the offseason.

Everyone talks about Aramis's fielding, but this isn't Mark Grace making Shawon Dunston look like a passable shortstop. Ramirez has progressed immensely as a fielder and is one of the better (no, really) third basemen in the NL these days.

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