August 18, 2010 at 6:18 pm by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves
Acquired 1B Derrek Lee and cash considerations from the Chicago Cubs for RHP Robinson Lopez, RHP Tyrelle Harris, and LHP Jeffrey Lorick.
Place Troy Glaus on the 15-day disabled list.
Troy Glaus is a 33 year old right handed hitter with a career 119 OPS+. Derrek Lee is a 34 year old right handed hitter with a career 122 OPS+. Glaus walks a bit more and strikes out a bit more, but they’ve been more or less the same offensive player in terms of value (from a rate standpoint) for their entire careers. Derrek Lee enters today (and he’s not playing today, more on that later) hitting .251/.335/.416. Troy Glaus enters today hitting .239/.343/.406. Considering the park effects, it doesn’t seem like much of an upgrade on the surface. Two mid-30′s first basemen having poor (by their standards and the league’s standards for first basemen) offensive seasons.
However, Derrek Lee has hit much better in the second half than he did in the first half. Through his first 85 games, he hit .233/.329/.366. In 24 games since he’s hit .313/.356/.583. I’m not a fan of arbitrary endpoints, but I think it is noteworthy that he’s been hitting well as of late and hit 4 HR in his last 3 games. Glaus has done the opposite. After hitting .254/.361/.441 in the first half (85 games), he’s hit .196/.294/.301 in 30 second half games. Presumably the Braves have a pretty good idea of which one is closer to the truth, and they obviously think Lee will be an upgrade. I can’t think of any reason they would be wrong, Lee will probably be an upgrade.
But then again, Lee hasn’t played in a few days because of a bulging disk in his back. How, exactly, will he rebound from this injury? Anyone’s guess. It’s quite a gamble from here, but of course I don’t know everything the teams making this deal do. Also, handing the medical staff another project in the middle of a pennant race, since they’ve done such wonderful work with the likes of Jason Heyward, Jordan Schafer, and Glaus himself, seems like a very bad idea.
Still, there’s a pretty good chance Lee helps the team down the stretch, more than Eric Hinske, Troy Glaus, Barbaro Canizares, or Freddie Freeman could. The cash simply makes Lee’s contract palatable for the organization’s payroll, and had a lot to do with the quality of the players the Cubs got in return.
Speaking of which, the Cubs get three legitimate prospects. The best of the trio is Robinson Lopez, a 6’2″ right-hander with an extremely live arm and a very projectable frame. His results at class A Rome have been disappointing, but it’s important to remember he’s only 19 years old and this is his first full season. I still hold him in very high regard. The other two are relievers. Lorick, the left hander, was a 20th round pick out of the University of Virginia in last year’s draft. He’s not the typical refined prospect you see from a 4-year college, but he has some late-game potential. Harris was taken one round before Lorick in the same draft. He throws hard and he’s had a successful first full pro season, making it all the way to AA. He’s got a huge frame (6’4″, 235 LB), and like Lorick has some late-game potential.
I think the Cubs did very well to get Lopez and two interesting relief prospects, even if they had to pay some to get them. Still, this deal probably makes the Braves better, and the middle of a pennant race isn’t the time to worry about giving up a lottery ticket and some Carolina League relievers.
One more thing, if the organization had put Troy Glaus on the DL a month ago, they’d probably still have their three prospects and a productive first baseman. Though it’s possibly just a string of bad luck for some otherwise competent people, I have to wonder if the team’s medical staff knows what the hell they’re doing after several significant screw ups the past few years.