Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bucs Close To Landing Land Lee

The O's just traded for 1B Chris Davis this afternoon, and the blowback is Derrek Lee should be a Bucco soon according to Dan Connelly of the Baltimore Sun. The Pirates will send 23 year old 1B Aaron Baker (.282/15/73 at Class A Bradenton) to the O's for Lee and some cash after checking out his medical report, Connelly says.

Other reports say the trade could be finalized before tomorrow. EDIT - it became official at 11:47 PM. Lee's in New York with the O's; maybe Amtrak can get him in Philly for the 1:35 get-away game. The Bucs could use the help.

With a line of .245/11/35, he's on the downhill side of his career. But he is hitting well this month, has a good mitt, is traditionally a strong second half performer (he has 6 homers & 19 RBI in the last month), has playoff experience and is reputed to be a good locker room head. The Bucs have been getting nothing out of first base, so  the 35 year old can't help but to upgrade the position. Lee will be a free agent at the end of the season.

Lee has also played with the San Diego Padres (1997), the Florida Marlins (1998–2003), Chicago Cubs (2004-2010) and Atlanta Braves (2010). His lifetime line is .281/324/1060. Lee is a two-time All Star and three-time Gold Glover.

And in a bit of trivia, Lee becomes the first guy the Bucs have bought for a pennant run since Shawon Dunston in September of 1997.

Baker was drafted in the eleventh round of the 2009 draft as a catcher and was converted to first. The recent signing of third round pick Alex Dickerson and the play of Matt Curry/Matt Hague in the upper levels made him expendable.

And if we were betting, our guess is that Lyle Overbay will get his walking papers when Lee reports, although there are other possible scenarios to clear roster room. EDIT - Ryan Doumit was moved to the 60-day DL to clear a spot on the 40-man roster, but no corresponding move has been made on the 25-man yet. The FO may be waiting to see when he reports so they're not a man short on the bench Sunday.

That could make it a big cash hit on the Bucs, both eating the remainder of Overbay's $5M contract and picking up the majority of the last two months of Lee's $7.25M deal with some very hefty bonus payments based on at-bats that could add another $2M. The FO did say money wouldn't be a determining factor in any deadline deals, and that looks like the stone truth in this case.

This may not be the last deal. The Bucs have a couple of other irons in the fire, as Jen Langosch of points out, and though it's not been on the radar, we wouldn't be knocked over if they dealt a pitcher, given the market.

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