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.