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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Derrek Lee

Thanks to Comcast crapping out and a cheap Belkin router that decides it doesn't want to work anymore whenever internet connectivity goes down for more than 15 seconds, I was without teh webs for pretty much all last night and this morning so I haven't been able to crow about Derrek Lee yet.


I know, I know, we traded THREE whole prospects for an old guy with a bad back who will only play a couple of months with the team at most. This is another rental like JD Drew and Teixeira that we will regret in three years once those arms are all in the Cubs' rotation and all we have to show for it is a loss in the NLCS to the reds. As Marvin the Paranoid Android would say "This will all end in tears".

Here's why I like the deal:

1) Derrek Lee is a hell of a player. He can not only hit, but he has Gold Glove defense at first. If you have a team with great pitching and a so-so offense, improving your defense to save some runs can be as effective as getting a muscle bound goon to bop homers all over the place.

2) Troy Glaus is hurt. He's been gutting it out over the past month, but watching him play it's obvious that he can barely run on those knees. This move allows the Braves to put him on the DL, rest up, and be fresh for the postseason run. Even if he's relegated to a bench role with Lee at first, who wouldn't want a guy like Troy Glaus off the bench? Talk about a dangerous pinch hitter.

3) Frank Wren made the best move possible under the circumstances. The face of the franchise goes down after the trade deadline. There's no obvious heir apparent to Chipper at third in the minors. The Braves desperately need a right handed hitter for the middle of the lineup who can hit a homer or two. Every other team in playoff contention are watching the waiver wire waiting to block any decent third basemen so the Braves can't improve themselves for the playoff push. So Frank Wren pulls an end around and gets a first baseman (who had already passed through waivers before Chipper got hurt) instead. Now, instead of an infield of a hurt Glaus, Prado, Gonzalez and some replacement-level player like Brandon Inge or Wilson Betemit at third, we've got four All-Stars in the infield with Lee, Infante, Gonzalez and Prado. Yes, Alex Gonzalez was an All-Star in 1999 with the Marlins. It counts. And no, we're not looking at an infield full of Hall of Famers. We're looking at a damn good infield who can hit and field very well. Not every team can field a linueup full of Hall of Famers like the Yanks.

4) The three pitchers we traded to the Cubs could end up being the next Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz. I don't know. I had never heard of any of them before yesterday and I try to keep up at least a basic knowledge of our farm system. The reason the Braves had to give them up at all is because Liberty Media is too goddamn cheap to pony up the 3.something million bucks left on Lee's contract. They'd rather just starve the payroll and then reap the financial benefits next year when they sell off a potential championship team. In essence, the Cubs were willing to dump Lee's salary, but due to the Braves' payroll they ended up selling off three minor league arms for the money to pay Lee. If one of them does end up becoming a Cy Young winner, blame the beancounters, not Frank.

5)The most important reason - Freddie Freeman. I have two reasons why he should not be starting at first base for the Braves right now despite the fact that he is totally owning Triple-A right now. Both have Braves ties. They are Joey Devine and Rick Ankiel. Rick got thrown into a high pressure playoff situation and the Braves damn near ended his career. It did end his career as a pitcher and now he's the Braves' center fielder. Same thing happened to Joey Devine. The Braves called him up out of desperation because Danny Kolb turned into a gasoline can. Next thing you know, he's giving up grand slams right and left and ended up blowing the last playoff game the Braves have been in. Call up Freeman right now and he could potentially have a storybook season where he wins the pennant and the World Series with his batting heroics and locks down first for the next twenty years. It's far more likely that he could end up screwed up for life after wilting under the pressure. J-Hey has had all season to get used to this pressure. Don't screw up Freddy if you don't have to.

This may be the only Derrek Lee card in my collection. I'm having a tough time finding another one at any rate. More likely since he playes for two of my least favorite teams, the Cubs and Marlins, I just ignored his cards before now. Odd thing is I actually have two of this 1998 Donruss Rookie Diamond Kings card. If anyone is desperate to have one, make me an offer. there's only 10,000 of them out there you know!


Hackenbush said...

Derrek seemed really happy to be joining the Braves so I know he'll give you 100%. Lilly and Theriot look to be out of the playoffs with the Dodgers so I guess I'll be pulling a little more for the Braves.

Colbey (flywheels) said...

You make an excellent point about not bringing up Freeman at the moment. I like the trade even if it means we only have Lee for the rest of the season since he'll most likely sign with another team next year. As far as 3rd goes I personally think Conrad has done a ample job filling the hole. No one can step into Chipper's shoes and replace him quite yet, but I feel comfortable with Conrad playing his position.

Mark's Ephemera said...

The Tennessee Smokies were playing the Mississippi Braves Wednesday. This is what showed up on their Facebook page that same day:

"As part of this afternoon's Cubs-Braves trade involving Derrek Lee, we've acquired former UT baseball player Tyrelle Harris (who just happened to be in Mississippi's clubhouse when the trade was announced). Jeremy Papelbon headed to the DL."

madding said...

I wish Lee could play 3rd. The Cards ended up with Pedro Fucking Feliz (that is his birth name, by the way.)

GA Mindset said...

I do agree with you on the infield, Prado just came back without loosing a step and the Braves organization has great praise for Lee. At least we didn't give up Teheran.

gritz76 said...

Madding's comment just made me laugh! I was at the game Pedro Fucking Feliz ended with an 11th inning homer and that's all I said the rest of the night! Pedro Fucking Feliz, I still say it to myself every time I see him! And I too am pulling for the Brave, more so for Lee, but the rest of the Braves too.