Photo Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
Carlos Lee – Like Berkman, Carlos “El Caballo” Lee was tradable in very large part to his monster contract reaching its expiration after the season. Like Berkman, Lee had a no trade clause. Unlike Berkman, he didn’t waive it… initially.
After the Los Angeles Dodgers became mega(bega?)billionaires following the sale to Magic Johnson and friends, the Dodgers were willing to pay, pay, pay to fill as many roster holes as possible. At the time, first base was a hole and they traded for Carlos Lee in June of 2012. El Caballo’s six-year $100 million dollar contract was expiring and the Dodgers wanted the final months of his production that he would surely play hard for. Riiiiiiiiiight?
Starting pitcher Garrett Gould was scratched from his A-ball start on June 29, 2012. Among 14 teams in Lee’s NTC were the Dodgers, and despite the allure of L.A. and, you know, winning baseball, Carlos Lee wasn’t very interested and the Dodgers pulled out of trade talks on July 1.
A market remained for Carlos Lee, and the Miami Marlins were looking for a boost to a club full of new multi-million free agent signees like Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell. There was mutual interest and the Fish weren’t on Lee’s NTC list, so on July 4 –three days after negotiations with the Dodgers broke down– a Marlin he became.
The Astros acquired pitcher Rob Rasmussen but the real catch was third baseman Matt Dominguez, who had fallen out of favor with the impatient developmental staff in Miami. Ranked as the organization’s fourth best prospect before the previous season (2011), the club shipped him off to Houston where he soon took over everyday at third base and has been there ever since.
“El Caballo” unfortunately played as the 2012 Marlins did: Uninspired. He slashed an ugly .243/.328/.325 with just four home runs in 81 games and became a Free Agent the season after. Still unsigned on June 21, 2013 — his 37th birthday — Carlos Lee announced his retirement after 14 big league seasons.