The Electric Commentary

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Should The Brewers Trade Carlos Lee?

It's tempting to sign a player who happens to be having a great season to a big-money, long-term deal, but we should remember a few things about El Caballo before we throw 5 years and 60 million at him:

1. He's fat. And he's getting fatter.

2. He's one year older than I am, which means that he will be 31 next year.

3. This is his best season ever. He usually hits .260 with 30 bombs. Good, but not great. This season wreaks of Adrian Beltre.

The Baseball Prospectus has this to say:

The thing about Lee's closest comparables (Ivan Calderon, Kevin McReynolds, Ted Kluszewski) is the worthy caution there: all three fell off cliffs shortly after their thirtieth birthdays. Calderon and McReynolds took terrible care of themselves, while Klu just couldn't stay healthy. There is no way to know if contemporary conditioning might keep Lee from joining this them, but he's in a walk year, and going to seed now would cost him eight large over a few years.


4. He will Never have more value than he does right now.

5. While the Brewers are in the hunt, this is largely a function of the sorry state of the NL, and not due to any exceptional talent from the Brewers. This is not entirely true, as the Crew may soon get Big Ben and T.O. (Tomo Ohka) back, but even with some improved pitching, they will probably need some more talent to seriously compete.

6. I'm told that the Crew is stacked with outfield prospects in addition to the Major League ready Corey Hart.

7. Here's Baseball Prospectus writer Dayn Perry on free agents in a walk year:

According to this table, players: (1) perform better in their walk years, (2) do so at an age that doesn't lend itself to peaking, and (3) perform better in their walk years than they do in their pre- or postwalk seasons.

-Baseball Between The Numbers, Page 202.


In short, if the Brewers resign Lee, he will likely never approach this level of play again, and given that fact, he may very well not be a valuable part of the future anyway. The future of the Brewers will be built on Prince Fielder, Ricky Weeks, J.J. Hardy, Bill Hall, and Chris Capuano, and not Carlos Lee.

While trading him in what is a legit playoff race would be hugely unpopular, it is the smart move.

3 Comments:

  • trade him, trade him, trade him, trade him, trade him...

    that said, keeping him to nominally stick around a wildcard race, then getting a first round draft pick when he signs elsewhere isn't the end of the world. if i can't do better than a prospect with first round upside, i keep him.

    don't re-sign him though, whatever you do.

    trade clark and koskie while you're at it, also.

    By Blogger ahren, at 5:30 PM  

  • I agree. There are so many positions that we need to fill before outfield. Corey Hart has been Great. And maybe we could get a catcher that bats over 200 or another pitcher for him or something. We probably could get someone pretty good for a Lee/ Koskie/clark package deal.

    By Blogger DannyNoonan, at 10:03 AM  

  • i just don't see that as a really viable package, since there's probably not any contender that needs to fill 2 outfield spots and 3b (if they did, they wouldn't be a contender).

    but lee to the yanks, clark to the pale hose, and koskie to minnesota all make a lot of sense to me.

    By Blogger ahren, at 10:47 AM  

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