Carlos Lee has been splitting time between left field and first base this season and has been hitting better than last year, especially over the past few months. He will probably be the hardest player for Ed Wade to move this year but he has value and I think could be traded if the right situation presents itself.
Batting Average: .277
Home Runs: 7
Carlos Lee has been hitting much better than his down season in 2010, especially since May 1st, when he has been hitting over .300. The home run total is down this year and he has not hit a home run in the month of July. This is probably one of the reasons Carlos Lee was dropped from the cleanup spot to fifth in the lineup. Even with the drop in that category, he is getting plenty of extra base hits. He is two short of his season total last year in doubles and already has set his career mark in triples with four. Lee never claimed to be a speedster but it is good to see him legging out these hits.
What he brings to the table?
The easy answer is a massive contract with a no-trade clause. This is the reason he will be the toughest player to move this season because Wade would need Lee to approve any trade. This is something that Lee has been very reluctant to do because he is happy in Houston and has ties to the area outside of baseball. If Wade was able to get Lee to waive this clause and agreed to eat a good portion of Lee’s contract, there would be a number of teams interested in Lee. Most likely they will all be American League teams because Lee’s defensive ability would be a liability and he would become a full time DH.
Carlos Lee can still hit the ball and while his home run total is down he still has 50 RBI on an Astros team that has struggled to score runs. He has shown he still has enough power to get extra base hits and could provide a boost to teams struggling at the plate.
Who might be interested?
The New York Yankees come to mind as Lee provides more punch at the plate than Jorge Posada but the team that would be a perfect trade would be the Tampa Bay Rays. The DH, as well as first base, has been a weakness of the Rays and they could use a bat like Lee to help out Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist and B.J. Upton. However, the Rays haven’t decided if they are buyers and sellers now 6.5 games out of the wild card. They are also not a team that takes on large contracts so the Astros would have to pay the majority of his contract. Then there is still the no trade clause issue and Lee would have to be sold on this trade and a move to Tampa. On August 1st, I expect Carlos Lee to still be in an Astros’ uniform but I would not be surprised to hear that some preliminary talks took place for Carlos Lee.