In the wake of Chipper Jones season ending injury, the Braves made a move today to bolster their offense by acquiring Cubs first baseman Derek Lee in a four player deal. The rumor of the deal was first reported this morning, and it gained steam throughout the day. The first hurdle was cleared once Lee waived his no trade clause and agreed to join the Braves. Lee previously had rejected the opportunity to join the Los Angeles Angels.
The second hurdle was cleared this afternoon as Lee reportedly passed the Braves medical examination as there were some questions about a bulging disc in his back. Seemingly that was the only question about the deal as the Braves didn’t give up a lot to get him. No major league roster guys were included in the trade nor were any of the Braves top prospects. Only Tyrelle Harris, Robinson Lopez, and Jeffrey Lorick were going to the Cubs.
The move creates a logjam at First Base of sorts with Troy Glaus already there. It is no secret that Glaus has struggled in the second half and with Chipper injured the Braves needed some pop in the middle of the order. It is expected that Glaus will be headed to the DL to rest a sore knee that kept him out of Wednesday night’s lineup.
Lee appears to be a significant upgrade at first base as he is an excellent defensive first baseman and is hitting .251 with 16 home runs and 56 RBI’s. He has been hitting well of late batting .283 with 30 RBI’s since June 16th. Lee is in the last year of his contract and is owed about 3.4 million dollars for the rest of the season. The Cubs apparently sent along some money to help cover the rest of Lee’s contract. Lee will join the Braves on Friday when the Braves travel to Chicago to take on the Cubs.
My thoughts on the move are that it is an exciting move for a franchise like the Braves that signifies that they sense that the time is now and are going for it. Lee should help tremendously in the batting order and defensively. Plus he is a good character guy that should fit in nicely in the Braves clubhouse. It is just another exciting move in what has been an exciting season for the Braves.