This is the hot rumor of the day...any legitimacy to it? Would it be a wise move?
Its been reported by CSN Chicago that this could go down. In fact, its been reported that the deal is essentially DONE, and that the management is just fine tuning the deal. If you're not sold by that, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports claims that the rumor has legs. What the hell? This one completely came out of nowhere. I've got concerns, though.
The thing I'm questioning most about this...Derrek Lee turned down a trade to the Angels at the deadline because he didn't want to be away from his sick daughter. What has changed in the 3 weeks since that deadline? Is the lure of a team who's seriously contending in the NL really that strong for Lee compared to the Angels, who are far back in the west? Was the thing about his daughter really just a cover because he didn't want to go to LA? Regardless of what the reasoning for turning the Angels deal down, its something Braves fans should keep in mind before we all start celebrating the acquisition as if its a done deal.
Another thing to think about: will Lee make it through waivers? He has $3.4 million left on his deal for the remainder of the season, and this would purely be a salary dump...but would a team want to block Lee from going to the Braves and possibly get saddled with that contract for what would essentially be a bench player for them? Crazier things have happened...if Ryan Howard's ankle injury is more serious than they're letting on, the Phillies could put in a claim for him...lord knows they have no qualms about taking on stupid salary commitments.
Lee will be a free agent after the season, so there's no need to think about him possibly blocking Freddie Freeman. He's a type B free agent on the cusp of being a type A, but I highly doubt the Braves would offer him arbitration with the absurd contract he's got ending right now. But it would be fantastic if the Braves were able to get a draft pick or two out of this deal to replace whatever prospect they'd be giving up. For what its worth, no prospect name has been leaked yet. It would probably end up being a C-level guy, or maybe even some organizational filler. Its not as if the Braves would be giving up Julio Teheran or Randall Delgado in this deal.
Now, for the meat of this post. Is Lee really an upgrade over Troy Glaus? Since the break, Glaus has a line of .191/.291/.304 with 7 extra base hits and 25 strikeouts in 102 at bats. Lee's line is .313/.356/.583 with 14 extra base hits ant 19 strikeouts in 96 at bats. So the answer...yes, Lee would be one hell of an upgrade over Glaus. Lee is playing right now like Glaus was playing in May. Having a guy like that in the 4 or 5 hole is the missing piece this team needs to have a deep run into October (and November). Imagine what it would be like to have someone hitting as well as Lee coming up in a key situation with runners on base, and not expecting a double play or strikeout to immediately happen. It would do wonders for the team's psyche along with their actual production.
My overall verdict? What the hell, do the deal. The Braves need a power hitter in the middle of the lineup after Chipper's blown out knee. Having Lee and a healthy Martin Prado in the lineup could push this team to the next level...and that is what all Braves fans are looking for in Bobby Cox's last season.