Derrek Lee’s No-Trade Clause

Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee has full no-trade rights.  Reporters have consulted Lee's friends for opinions on whether he'd waive them.  ESPN's Jayson Stark tweeted today:

A source who has known Lee for years says it's "highly doubtful" he'd waive his full no-trade to OK any deal at this stage.

That runs counter to what Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports wrote 12 days ago:

Lee has remained noncommittal on the issue of his no-trade clause. But some friends of the Cubs first baseman said this week that they believe he would accept a deal to the right team.

Al Yellon of Bleed Cubbie Blue pointed out to me that Lee remarked a few days after Rosenthal's report, "I would bet that not one of my friends knows who Ken Rosenthal is" (Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune via Twitter).

Here's what we know for sure: first basemen aren't in huge demand, Lee's having a lousy season, and he has a hefty $4.95MM left on his contract.

70 Responses to Derrek Lee’s No-Trade Clause Leave a Reply

  1. Lee laughed at the notion that Rosenthal spoke to any of his friends, fwiw.

  2. Nate Springfield 5 years ago

    Hendry would ask for quite a bit in return for Lee and it is doubtful that the Rangers would give up a package that Hendry would want in return.

  3. If the Rangers are interested in him, why wouldn’t he waive it to go to a contender?

  4. Let’s face it Lee is not going anywhere. They are going to let him go after the season and hopefully go after someone in Free agency if he’s not traded. Aramis Ramirez is not going to opt of his contract since he won’t get the money he wants in F/A. Fukudome is staying until the off-season starts cause no one wants a back-up outfielder right now. So Ted Lilly or Tom Gorzelanny are the Cubs most likely to go at the deadline.

    • Gorz should be off-limits. Cheap and effective lefty. Lilly, as much as I like him, should and will go if anyone does.

    • I agree on all of that except that they have a chance to move Fuky if they pick up enough of his money and they desperately need to open up another outfield spot

  5. whitesoxfan424 5 years ago

    Why would any player not waive his no-trade clause to go play for a contender for the last weeks of his contract? I mean, it seems like everyone wants to play for the Cubs… but why wouldn’t you want to play for a winner?

    • Very often, you see players posturing about not wanting to waive their NTC’s. Sometimes it’s a stance taken to get the new club to pick up an option, buy out the NTC, or some other perk. Doesn’t seem to be the case here.

  6. I hope the Cubs go after Adam Dunn after this season. He said before he would like to play and they decided to sign Milton Bradley instead. ;(

    • I would’ve agreed two years ago, but something about the Cubs luck tells me that if they sign him he’ll suddenly get hurt or tank

    • Gocubs2010 5 years ago

      Cubs had a player like adam dunn he was called sammy sosa, power or strike out that’s all dunn does.

  7. The Cubbies can still offer arbitration to Lee and take the comp picks. I don’t think he’d accept. Even if he did, there’s not a no trade clause in his arbitrated contract after June 15. Slightly risky, but worth it, IMO.

  8. Lee has a young daughter in school in the Chicago area – she also has sight issues (originally thought to be a rare debilitating disease – but later prognosis improved) – I doubt very much he wants to spend 3 months away from his children.

    • whitesoxfan424 5 years ago

      That would be a very good reason to use the no-trade clause. I didn’t know that.

  9. aap212 5 years ago

    Shouldn’t his age, performance, and salary serve as a no-trade clause? He’s almost 35, he’s got money coming to him this year, you can’t offer him arbitration, and his numbers don’t indicate a bounceback waiting to happen. They indicate a finished player.

    • Actually, Lee has been hitting lately. He’s hitting .300 over the last month. The power still isn’t where you’d like it but he doesn’t appear to be washed up just yet. The start of the year really dragged down his numbers but he’s been descent lately. Maybe not descent enough to get much for him by the deadline but still, he’s no Lyle Overbay or even Richie Sexson, he can still hit a little.

      • aap212 5 years ago

        He’s had great luck on balls in play the last couple of weeks. A few singles falling in doesn’t mean much. His bat speed is gone.

  10. scottandwtb 5 years ago

    Adam Laroche is having a better season, is cheaper, and historically does really well in the second half.

  11. Here’s what we know for sure: first basemen aren’t in huge demand, Lee’s having a lousy season, and he has a hefty $4.95MM left on his contract.
    Well if the laws of supply and demand I learned in Economics 101 are true, this means that, theoretically, Lee can be had on the cheap by the Rangers…maybe the Cubs move him for a solid (not elite) prospect and eat enough $$$ for MLB to sanction the deal.

    Of course that all depends if Lee would be willing to leave the Cubs sinking ship for a playoff contender.

    He wouldn’t be a huge downgrade defensively either for Davis…though carrying two 1B kind of ruins any shot at having position flexibility. Davis could still play some 3B, but I’m not sure if that is the best idea in a pennant race.

    • aap212 5 years ago

      Why would you trade a solid prospect for a first baseman who hasn’t shown any signs of life with the bat?

      • Yankeeboy11 5 years ago

        Because we all know what happens when someone dead goes to the Park in Texas

        • aap212 5 years ago

          Who’s been as done looking as Lee, gone to Texas, and suddenly gotten good? Vlad put up a 106 OPS+ last year, hitting for average and decent power, and has mostly benefited from being healthier (he has a noticeable home/road split, but he’s actually pretty good on the road). Lee is perfectly healthy. A ballpark can’t give you back the bat speed that time has taken away.

      • Have you seen our offensive production at 1B…Lee is an upgrade no matter how bad he has been.

        • aap212 5 years ago

          Davis is more likely to do better the rest of the way than Lee is. Lee’s put up a .654 OPS away from Wrigley. Even if that’s an improvement (which is sad), you should aim for better, and you certainly shouldn’t trade a solid prospect for that. I’d rather give the Astros a sack of baseballs for Chris Shelton than trade anything of value for Lee.

          • You obviously have watched 0 Rangers game this year if you think Davis is “likely” to do anything.

            Every team pitches him outside and he hasn’t made ANY adjustments to hit the ball the other way. The only time Davis hit’s a ball with any authority is if a pitcher misses inside.

          • aap212 5 years ago

            I prefer the guy who can punish a mistake to the guy with no footspeed who depends on singles for all his value. Obviously option number three is preferable.

          • He hasn’t hit a HR this year. There is no ‘punishing’. Now you are adding words into what I have said. He hit’s the ball hard on the ground if a pitcher misses inside.

          • aap212 5 years ago

            And again, I don’t think he’s the best choice overall. But he’s had less than 100 at bats in the majors this year.

      • It is the same situation in which we got Bengie Molina. His value isn’t ONLY tied to his offensive production. There is something to be said for veterans in a playoff race. And he is a solid defender. What we have right now isn’t cutting it. If we want the Cubs to eat salary (which we have to, by the way) we have to give at least a solid prospect for him

        • aap212 5 years ago

          Bengie Molina has been terrible and the Rangers overpaid for him. And what’s the value of a veteran if he isn’t any good? If it’s experience and intangibles, don’t you have Young, Guerrero, and Molina for that?

          • Molina has already won 1 AL player of the week in the 3 weeks he has been here.

          • aap212 5 years ago

            Molina has put up a .226/.263/.396 line in Texas. Get a grip.

          • With that sample size, a 3-4 game bumps that average over .250…get a grip. He will come around.

            He gets hot for 3-4 games he is a .290 hitter.

          • Far to early to judge a trade that is 3 weeks old…WOW you should know better if you know anything about baseball.

          • aap212 5 years ago

            I’m arguing YOUR premise that Molina was a good trade and has been a boost.

          • He is still focusing on learning the pitching staff. His hitting will come around as soon as he doesn’t have to figure what pitches, 12-15 different pitchers throw.

          • aap212 5 years ago

            Show me any evidence that veteran catchers struggle at the plate after being traded more than any other player and I’ll buy this as more than a rationalization.

          • You are arguing with me about MY team. Wash and Bengie have both said this in interviews. He needs to learn the pitchers 1st, that is priority #1.

            Why do you think we got him early July?

          • aap212 5 years ago

            YOUR team? You don’t own it, coach it, or run it. Other veteran catchers have switched teams mid-season, handled new pitchers just fine, and not struggled with the bat. Appealing to your own non-existent authority isn’t an argument.

          • Yes MY team…I would expect you would know more about YOUR team than me. You follow them more closely.

            Now you are taking the argument away from baseball and making it personal.

            Sounds like someone who is defeated. I’m done with you. This discussion is now over. You have no clue what you are talking about.

          • aap212 5 years ago

            Actually YOU’RE making it personal and running from the point about catchers switching teams. Take care.

          • And AGAIN we have to overpay for everybody! We can’t afford their salaries with our budget. We have to add extrabetter prospects to get teams to eat salary, so we MLB will sanction the deal.

            We don’t have a choice. Sitting tight and fall out of contention is not an option at this point. We are already ‘in’ with Cliff Lee and Molina.

          • aap212 5 years ago

            You don’t have to get someone famous! There are guys in Triple-A who could be gotten for not very much that are better than Derrek Lee right now.

          • Not with his track record and defensive skills.

          • aap212 5 years ago

            Oh dear, it’s the Doug Mientkiewicz argument.

          • Doug Mienktiewicz has D LEE’S track record….are you serious!?!?!?!?!

          • aap212 5 years ago

            Obviously not. Just saying, everyone’s track record runs out at some point, and when you start hinging your argument for a player’s value on first base defense, you’re making the Minky defense.

          • If JD wanted someone in AAA, he would bring up Garko or Matt Brown.

          • aap212 5 years ago

            He should! They’re better options than Lee.

          • I’d rather have Lee than Cantu, Wigginton, Lowell, etc. He is a better defender than all of them. And D. Lee has been hot the last 2 weeks. He is showing signs of life.

            Last year he started off slow last year, and by the end of the year he had solid numbers.

          • aap212 5 years ago

            He had an .864 in the first half last year. He improved in the second half, but he didn’t look finished in the first half.

          • Ah defense, the last bastion of the white first basem-oh wait

          • aap212 5 years ago

            Hehe. Well done. But hey, he gets along with Cubs fans, so he can’t possibly be black, right Milton Bradley?

      • Again, look what Lee has done over the last month. .313/.368/.438/.805. Not killer numbers but I would say that shows signs of life with the bat. The power is missing but the .obp is nice. Looking at his overall numbers don’t tell the story of how he’s playing lately.

        • aap212 5 years ago

          The OBP is all luck on singles. The walk rate has been mediocre.

          • Everyone said D. Lee was done in the middle of last season….that wasn’t true.

            Who does Lee have hitting behind him in Chi….A-Ram, Soriano….

            Put him in our lineup and I guarantee he sees better pitches and starts to rake.

            Not to mention he will be motivated to be in a PENNANT RACE!

          • aap212 5 years ago

            Are you accusing him of being less than 100% motivated in Chicago? Doesn’t sound like a good veteran influence to me. And everyone who said he was done last year was responding to a first half that was lower than his norm, as opposed to this year, which has been outright bad.

          • It’s hard to stay motivated when you are 15 games under .500. He will be extra motivated how bout that.

            I notice you said nothing about the lack of protection in the lineup.

          • aap212 5 years ago

            Lineup protection has been shown to almost entirely be a myth. It also doesn’t explain why mostly the same protection has failed him so completely this year when last year he was fine. But you don’t seem like the kind of guy one can discuss sabermetrics with.

    • Defensive downgrade? Lee is a 3 time GG winner, with 5 errors in 91 games and a fielding percentage of .994 this year. Don’t get me wrong Davis is a good at defense, but Lee would be a downgrade? I don’t think so.

  12. aap212: “numbers…indicate a finished player” and “hasn’t shown any signs of life with the bat” indicate that you haven’t tapped three keys to check your own arguments. Lazy. Lee’s batting .423/.464 in the last 7 days, .386//413 in the last 15.

    • Those are ‘signs of life’ to me…

    • aap212 5 years ago

      Nice sample size. The huge BABIP helps. It’s all luck on singles.

      • 2 weeks is clearly long enough to say if someone has ‘signs of life.’ Not that they have been great but that they have shown ‘signs of life.’

      • BDLugz 5 years ago

        Except BABIP doesn’t tell the whole story when those hits are gappers and he’s making great contact. These aren’t bloop singles he’s dropping in – don’t cherry pick a stat and assume it’s luck.

  13. There are better 1B available perhaps. But we need a RH hitting 1B that mashes LHP.

  14. studio179 5 years ago

    I’m not sure if Lee gets delt or not. Maybe Hendry finds someone who will take him. If that’s the case, Lee should waive his NTC so he does not have to listen to Z’s apology to the team in a few days.

  15. roberty 5 years ago

    I accidentally push the like button on posts that I dislike all the time. They should put the reply button on the left.

    Hendry should be begging teams to take payroll off his hands. He is going to find himself in a position soon where he is trading away his cheap good players because he can’t afford their arbitration raises because overpaid veterans are eating up too much of his budget.

    Remember when the Braves traded Kevin Millwood to the Phillies? It’ll be like that.

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