The book is closed on the Carlos Lee era
Admit it, during the fall of 2006, a lot of us were pretty happy to actually add a consistent weapon to a struggling offensive lineup. To compound the Astros’ struggles, the once dynamite starting pitching staff was heading back to New York. The issue was pretty cut and dry, Astros needed a bat and Carlos Lee wanted to come to Houston. So the deal with the devil was about to take place and a dark cloud was about to fly over Houston that wouldn’t be lifted until today. With the Astros’ trade of Carlos Lee to Miami, a chapter in the long history of Houston baseball was shut closed.
Carlos Lee came to Houston hoping to keep a winning tradition going but anyone who understood the economics of baseball at the time knew it was a bad deal. Throw in the fact a no-trade clause or partial clause was setup for the length of the deal and it could be classified as a horrid deal long term. That said, everyone knew what type of player Carlos truly was. We knew he wasn’t fast, in fact, quite the opposite and outfield play would be an issue. The hope was that through all his negatives, his bat would be his positive. The Astros were so in need of an offensive beast that they turned to Lee willing to overlook so many flaws. Lee would produce for the first 3 years of his massive contract, reality was that he’d almost lived up to his outrageous contract with his strong offensive play. Another truth is that even with Emperor Selig and Darth Ike along with 40 thousand storm troopers in Milwaukee, had Carlos Lee not gone down with an injury in 2008, the Astros might have made the playoffs.
The obvious decline we had hoped would wait until this season came in year four as his numbers began to slip dramatically. Lee would post an OPS of barely .700 in 2010 and would produce slight comeback in 2011. The thought was that new GM Jeff Luhnow would do whatever it took to move Lee this season and after a failed attempt last Sunday, it was accomplished today. Like it or not, fair or not, Carlos Lee will be, right along with Drayton McLane, the main reasons for the mess we are in now. He did his job for the most part and the Astros had to know his decline would come but simply thought it was worth it.
Over the past few season, and I imagine even next few weeks, we will hear fat jokes and negative commentary towards Lee. Some well-deserved and others no so much but it will wash away eventually. The dark cloud can now begin to move on over another franchise which will certainly make a short-sided, viewed as necessary, move. The Astros next chapter within a brand new book, with a new publishing company and author can finally begin and so far it feels like a must read.