Braves Acquire Derrek Lee For Three Prospects

When Derrek Lee takes the field at Wrigley this weekend, he won't be wearing a Cubs uniform. The Braves have acquired Lee from Chicago in exchange for right-hander Robinson Lopez, right-hander Tyrelle Harris and left-hander Jeffrey Lorick.

The Cubs will pay the Braves $1.7MM, half of the $3.4MM owed to Lee between now and the end of the season. The 34-year-old, who hits free agency at season's end, has a .251/.335/.416 line in 475 plate appearances and projects to be a Type B free agent this offseason. Lee has a .939 OPS since the All-Star break, but is currently dealing with back soreness.

Lee isn't an obvious platoon partner for Troy Glaus, since both players have a history of hitting left-handers a bit better than they hit right-handers. So Glaus, a longtime third baseman, will be placed on the DL and receive some time at the hot corner during his rehab assignment. He has been slumping (.575 OPS in the last two months), but the Braves hope he can provide some pop at both first and third base in September.

As for the minor leaguers heading to Chicago, 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.

David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com first reported that the Braves and Cubs were working toward a deal and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter) broke news of the trade. Mark Bowman, Mark Bradley. David O'Brien, Jon Heyman, Bob Nightengale, Jerry Crasnick, Bruce Levine and Gordon Wittenmyer also provided updates to the story.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.


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251 Comments on "Braves Acquire Derrek Lee For Three Prospects"


4 years 11 months ago

I wonder who the Cubs would get for Lee.

HansonAce
4 years 11 months ago

All will depend on how much money the cubs are willing to eat salary that will determine a C-B+ prospects in any deal

4 years 11 months ago

Not much. It’s more of a salary dump by the cubs.

NYBravosFan10
4 years 11 months ago

HELL YEAH!!!!!!!! As long as this doesn’t block Freddie Freeman, sweet deal!!! I’ve been in Atlanta lately and have been at all the games since the opener against the Dodgers and Troy Glaus has not impressed me in the least. He hit a 3-run bomb yes and has 6 give or take one or two but has struck out too much and too many double plays.

dbreer23
4 years 11 months ago

Lee’s contract expires at the end of this year. He won’t block Freeman, unless the Braves decide to re-sign him…which I don’t see happening.

Mean Street (Posse that is)
4 years 11 months ago

This makes the lineup look pretty good…. I only wish they would take KK or Mclouth but thats not happening

TimotheusATL
4 years 11 months ago

I don’t understand this one unless the Braves are unloading an undesirable to the Cubs.

Derrek Lee: .251/.335/.416 16HR 56RBI
Troy Glaus: .239/.343/.406 16HR 70RBI
Alex Gonzalez: .255/.300/.475 20HR 64RBI (for sake of comparison)

The upgrade is purely defensive, if in fact this deal happens. Perhaps it sets up a Lee/Glaus platoon at first?

erm016
4 years 11 months ago

Look at Troy’s #’s since June. They’re bad.

bbxxj
4 years 11 months ago

Most of Glaus’s line comes from his monster month earlier in the season. I love what he has done and how he really is doing everything he can, but when you can’t bend over to get sharp grounders, run the bases at a little more than a jog, or have a base (ie knees and other joints) that allows you to not strike out all the time its time to move on.

Glaus I imagine would still be on the team as a RH pinch hitter as we currently don’t have one in the purest sense (Hinske, Cabrera, and Conrad all hit from the left or hit much better from the left side) and Diaz is a pseudo-starter as of late. Being able just to hit and not field/run would do Glaus alot of good.

TimotheusATL
4 years 11 months ago

Oh, don’t get me wrong — I love that it would shore up the defense on the right side. Anything that could help us defensively in the infield can only be a positive, as long as they can still hit. It’s just unusual to trade for a 1B as a potential offensive upgrade that’s hitting for less offense than your shortstop.

austinhb
4 years 11 months ago

Yeah arent the braves like the 3rd worst on defense? I watched some balls hit glaus’s way where he just kind of got out of the way, Lee would be a huge upgrade imo

PapaDragon3
4 years 11 months ago

Only we’re not talking about a shortstop. We’re talking about a 1st baseman. Troy Glaus’s OPS since June is .548. Lee has done much better the 2nd half and is trending in the right direction.

whaab
4 years 11 months ago

D.Lee is having a better second half then his horrible first half, the exact opposite of Glaus. D.Lee is a definite upgrade offensively/defensively as you will see if he ends up on the Braves. If you compare their stats while they play together (if they play together) for the rest the season Lee will own Glaus

dbreer23
4 years 11 months ago

Agreed – DLee is definitely on the upswing, whereas Glaus’ minor injuries are piling up as they usually do as the year wears on.

TimotheusATL
4 years 11 months ago

The more I’ve looked at it, the more excited I’ve gotten. I needed coffee bad this morning. :)

whaab
4 years 11 months ago

D.Lee is an upgrade from Glaus both offensively and defensively. Glaus had a killer 1st half now D.Lee is just coming on in the second half.

RiverKKiller999
4 years 11 months ago

So if we get Lee then where does Glaus play at ?

NYBravosFan10
4 years 11 months ago

The free agent wire probably. It’s a crying shame and this will be a tough decision for Mr. Wren but that’s baseball. It’s a business, not a friendship circle.

RiverKKiller999
4 years 11 months ago

I don’t wanna see Glaus as a free agent right now,he’s done ok for us and there’s no way they should treat him like that.I’d rather have him on the bench.But like you said ,it’s just business.

erm016
4 years 11 months ago

bench role. I don’t see them dropping him.

4 years 11 months ago

They split time at first because Lee’s position is only first base and Glaus’s position is DH but there is none in the National League

inkstainedscribe
4 years 11 months ago

DOB suggests the Braves could DL Glaus until the rosters expand so he could rest his knees. Would make sense because the guy can’t move more than one step to his left or his right on grounders right now.

4 years 11 months ago

1b may be struggling but you can’t move Glaus to third.

Why the heck would you want two 1B having subpar years on the same team?!!??!?

erm016
4 years 11 months ago

because they need power. Lee has power. Of course he’s not the best 1b in the NL, but he’s the best available.

4 years 11 months ago

Admittedly, Derek isn’t the best 1B in the national league, but I think it’d be hard to find someone else of his caliber.

He is better defensively, offensively, and is more consistent than Glaus will ever be

Nooble
4 years 11 months ago

Why not just offer arb at the end of the year and get draft compensation? I don’t see the harm in accepting arb either since the Cubs don’t have anyone coming up to play 1B, and you could just do the same next year then hoping he bounces back some. It’s better than offering a multi-year deal to one of the other FA 1B that aren’t assured to be any better than Lee anyways.

Rynocerous
4 years 11 months ago

That’s my thinking…Hoffpauir has shown that he cannot be an MLB starter. A Type B comp pick will probably be better than whatever garbage they get from Atlanta.

For someone who preached about spending money to put out a good team, Ricketts sure has been pinching a lot of pennies. I don’t understand why they would need to dump Lee’s salary…it’s not like they are getting out of a second year. He is a free agent at the end of the season. This deal makes no sense.

4 years 11 months ago

Agreed. This isn’t about making the Cubs better, it’s about saving some money. If that money is reinvested in payroll or young players then fine, and if they get something back that’s better than what they could get as a type B then fine as well. Doesn’t seem likely though, this feels more like a team trying to shed payroll more than anything.

4 years 11 months ago

Ricketts came on board a team with high-paid underperforming veterans clogging up the roster. I don’t think opening the checkbook would have made much difference this year. As for next, he’s shedding salary where he can so that he can eat some of Fukudome and/or Zambrano’s contracts in the offseason. Once he gets the rest of the dead weight off the roster and gets a chance to size up what is coming in from the minors, THEN it will be time to spend money. I’ll withhold my judgment until then.

studio179
4 years 11 months ago

I could not agree any more.

crunchy1
4 years 11 months ago

I’m pretty sure Lee would have accepted arbitration though it’s a moot point because the Cubs had no intention of offering. I do think one of the guys they picked up, Lopez, is as good was what they could have gotten with a Type B comp anyway.

4 years 11 months ago

Even if the Cubs beat Lee in Arbitration, the rules won’t let them cut his pay more than 20%–that would be $10.4mil. That is way, way too much money for a team trying to rearrange its payroll to commit to the easiest every day position to fill, particularly for a guy who may be on the decline.From the Braves’ perspective, it makes total sense. Glaus is slowing down, Lee is heating up. Plus, as a strong character guy with a good glove, Lee fits the Braves’ MO. If his recent turnaround continues with the Braves, they can offer him a one year deal to help bridge the gap to Freeman. Atlanta has a very strong African-American community that has been very appealing to many stars over the years. Lee might be more inclined to sign a lower $ deal to stay there if he thinks the situation is to his liking.

tonythered
4 years 11 months ago

Lee has reached free agency. He is no longer eligible for any arbitration. He must be paid his contract by someone, and is eligible for nothing else but a new contract when this one expires.

4 years 11 months ago

This is different than the 3 arb years every player goes through. When a player’s contrac t is up, the team losing him can offer arbitration, and if the player declines the old team gets draft picks from the new team. Or, the player accepts, and they go through arb just like with youngsters. I think that’s correct….

4 years 11 months ago

See Ted’s comments on this… you don’t really seem to understand arbitration. It’s an odd process, particularly where arb being offered to potential free agents is concerned, so it;s easy to get it confused.

swick
4 years 11 months ago

Lee is making over $13 mil this season, and he would most likely accept arbitration (if he didn’t, he’s only going to be a Type B anyway).

For the money he’d get in arbitration, the Cubs should be able to get better production out of the position.

Besides, if they want to bring him back next year, they still can as a free agent. They might even be able to get him cheaper than they would if they held onto him and went to arbitration. But there are other options than Lee.

4 years 11 months ago

I wouldn’t mind the deal happening and extending Lee for 2011 so that Freeman gets another year in AAA. He’s young why move him so fast.

TimotheusATL
4 years 11 months ago

Because he’s ready?

erm016
4 years 11 months ago

Another year wouldn’t kill him. It would just add depth.

4 years 11 months ago

And the fact that he’s just so young, no need to rush him.

4 years 11 months ago

I’d rather bring Freeman up in June or July next year, since it was June or July when he really got hot.

TimotheusATL
4 years 11 months ago

you’ve gotta think like Liberty Media, though. When they’ve got a MLB-ready prospect that they can pay $400k, they’re not going to sign a veteran for millions for anywhere close to a similar production level.

bbxxj
4 years 11 months ago

Because you don’t usually want to have a 20 year old repeat the highest minor league level when he is allready a top five offensive player at that level. Or in other words, when you are a dominant player in a league you are 4-5 years too young for its generally a sign you need a new challenge.

erm016
4 years 11 months ago

Can go either way. I don’t think there is any problem with him starting next season at AAA

csg
4 years 11 months ago

the braves would be crazy to offer Lee arbitration. The Braves cant afford a $14mil 1B, when their top prospect appears to be ready and could play for the league minimum. Braves need all the salary relief they can get and they need to worry about their OF, not 1B.

Freeman now has his numbers up to .308/.369/.510/.878, even after his horrid start to the season at AAA

RiverKKiller999
4 years 11 months ago

Over all If this deal happens.I’ll be happy with it.We need all the power we can get.Small ball can hold on to us for so long ….

Guest
4 years 11 months ago

should have just went for lyle overbay ? Better defense, almost identical triple slash, lefty hitter to platoon with glaus, cheaper, easily available, 1.7 WAR vs. 0.6 WAR

RiverKKiller999
4 years 11 months ago

No thanks,he’s garbage hitting in a hitters park…He wouldn’t be close to where he is now in a pitchers park like ATL.

Guest
4 years 11 months ago

He hit .171 in April so he’s been decent ever since then. Overall, he’s hitting exactly the same as Lee, is cheaper, better defence, bats left, and has been worth over 1 WAR more than Lee. He’s a doubles-hitter so I don’t know that playing in Atlanta would kill his value.. But whatever, if you’re content paying more in cash (and probably a better prospect) for Lee over Overbay, enjoy

RiverKKiller999
4 years 11 months ago

That’s really not my choice ya know?Of course you got me with the 1 WAR but still this guy will either come back and rape or he will turn ripe getting older.IDK.I’d take my chances with a power hitter like Lee even though he’s having a down year.He’s been hitting pretty good his last 10 games or so even though that don’t mean alot but he might start heating up ,who knows.

Guest
4 years 11 months ago

Fair enough, I just think if they’re going to gamble on a right-handed hitter rebounding for the next month, why not just stick with Glaus? I would have went a different route but hey, i’m not a major league GM

4 years 11 months ago

Because Glaus is injured. It’s not that complicated.

alxn
4 years 11 months ago

Lee since the all-star break: .313/.356/.583
Overbay since the all-star break: .240/.325/.420

So sorry nobody wants your mediocre first baseman. We already have a lefty named Eric Hinske who can put up Overbay numbers.

Guest
4 years 11 months ago

k chill

4 years 11 months ago

The Braves need right handed power, as they are a lefty heavy line up. Why add Lyle Overbay again? And really, he’s not better than Lee defensively.

MLB_in_the_Know
4 years 11 months ago

To me…a trade of A-Ram and Derek Lee for KK and a B prospect would be a good deal for both sides.

The Cubs are in rebuild mode and this would save them a lot of money, a total of $13.4 million over a year and a half and it would give them a decent #4/5 starter.

The Braves would be in a position to solidify the NL East in one move.

Rynocerous
4 years 11 months ago

I’m sorry, but that would be a terrible deal for the Cubs. They have plenty of young starters…they are not top-of-the-rotation guys but they are at least as good as Kawakami. And if the Cubs get rid of Ramirez as well as Lee, they would have no power bats left. Soriano doesn’t count.

ATL_Mindset
4 years 11 months ago

I think the Braves got around 4 mill from insurance when Chipper went down for the year so it’s good to see them investing that money to upgrade the team… it’s going to pain me to see our top rbi producer demoted to the bench but I’m loyal to a fault

Guest
4 years 11 months ago

Hmmmm. A bulging disk to replace worn out knees.

4 years 11 months ago

Should just get Aramis Ramirez, he’s a better fit. Even if the Jones will come back next year Glaus only has one year, can’t A-Ram switch to first base just to play in a pennant race?

Guest
4 years 11 months ago

The Braves want Freeman at first next year.

4 years 11 months ago

Reason #1

14 Rocks
4 years 11 months ago

If traded, ARam is owed 30 million dollars over the next two years. I would rather have Lee for the 2 months than ARam for two years at that price.

4 years 11 months ago

Reason #2

austinhb
4 years 11 months ago

Because if he’s traded his option becomes guaranteed at over 12 mil, and chipper is gonna attempt a return next year, and the braves are necessarily known for thier spending.

4 years 11 months ago

Reason #3 ok I’m beat don’t get A-Ram

gothamgator
4 years 11 months ago

actually, 16 mil for ’12 becomes guaranteed… ouch

I mean, don’t get me wrong, if it’s the move to make to win a WS this year, I’d say go for it, even if it handcuffs the team a bit the next couple years. Professional sports is a win now world, cause you never know what next year will bring (despite how bright the future looks). But Lee for 4 mil for the rest of the season vs Aramis for 30 mil over the next 2, I’s definitely lean toward the former.

austinhb
4 years 11 months ago

all i can say is thank god we have freeman in the future lol

Tigerfan93
4 years 11 months ago

Any report with Rosenthal’s name on it immediately has a red flag attached to it.

RiverKKiller999
4 years 11 months ago

I don’t see why he wouldn’t wanna go to the Braves.They are in 1st place,Lee would like to play for Cox I’m sure.Who wouldn’t?

rayking
4 years 11 months ago

His family lives in Chicago, and his daughter has Lebers Congenital Amaurosis which has affected her vision. I am sure he has no problem with playing for Cox, but he is putting his fam first.

RiverKKiller999
4 years 11 months ago

Ok,I can understand that.

4 years 11 months ago

I fail to see the argument that Lee makes us a worse team.

austinhb
4 years 11 months ago

Me niether, chips insurance money covers the cost, and he will probably only cost us a c prospect, better D and more consistency makes us a worse team? Riiighht.

RiverKKiller999
4 years 11 months ago

D-Lee ” Yes I’ll accept the trade” “anyway of getting away from this fool Carlos Zambrano”

Wren ” Welcome to the Braves then”