Derrek Lee was brought into Baltimore to put up decent production at the first base position for most of the season. The hope was to be able to deal him at the deadline and to approach major free agents in the offseason such as Prince Fielder. They were hoping to catch Derrek Lee on a bounce back season after injuries had caused his offensive numbers to trail off the last few years. But of course the bounce back didn’t happen. Now they are left with a guy that most teams would use as a pinch hitter. That’s exactly what he was last year when the Atlanta Braves traded for him at the deadline. However, there are still a few teams that could use him as an upgrade at 1B.
Just like Vlad Guerrero, Lee will probably be traded come August once he clears waivers. There is a small chance that he could be dealt by this Sunday still. But it is a small chance. It is almost impossible to tell exactly what the Orioles will get for Lee, because they will only get mid level prospects. They will not get an impact player, they will not get a player with big league experience, and they will not get any names that any of you have ever heard of. They will be Double A to low A level prospects. So here are the teams that could have interest in Lee. As always its in order of most likely to least likely.
Pittsburgh Pirates- He would be a great fit for this team. Lee would immediately take over as the everyday 1B over Lyle Overbay. And with Pittsburgh being the favorites for Koji Uehara as well, I could see a combined deal here. Which means the Orioles can get something better than a mid level prospect for Lee. Perfect situation for both teams.
Cleveland Indians- Lee could actually be used at 1B here. Their 1B now is Matt LaPorta and he isn’t the most secure player. With LaPorta being a former outfielder he could slide over there to make room for Lee. Derrek would be a nice addition to the middle of their order too. Whether or not the Indians trade for Lee in August depends on where they are in the standings by then. The best chance for the Orioles to sell him to Cleveland would be this week.
Texas Rangers- With Mitch Mooreland being mediocre and Chris Davis failing at every opportunity he gets, Lee would be a nice addition to this team. There is some room for him to play at 1B, there is room for him to DH, and of course there is the bench. I talked yesterday about Texas being a good fit for Vlad Guerrero, but Lee would be a better fit.
Arizona Diamondbacks- Their 1B is Brandon Allen. Who? They obviously could use Lee. He could also be used in a pinch hitting role. With the D-Backs falling further behind the Giants its tough to tell if they will actually be in position to buy come August. If they get Lee they have to do it by this Sunday. There will be no point in them getting him after the deadline because they probably won’t be in contention.
Los Angeles Angels- The Angels have had 1B problems all year ever since Kendrys Morales was ruled out. Trumbo has filled in nicely and is going to be the starer there regardless. Lee could be a nice backup for them, a pinch hitter, and a DH at times.
Atlanta Braves- I mentioned about how they acquired him last year as a pinch hitter. He didn’t do too bad for them last year hitting .287. His high average for Atlanta was one of the reasons why the Orioles thought he could have a bounce back year with a change of scenery. He would also play 1B when Freddie Freeman needs the day off.
Boston Red Sox- They don’t have a whole lot of bench depth, especially in the infield. Lee could be that guy. It would be hard for him to get playing time here with Adrian Gonzalez at first and Ortiz as the every day DH.
Philadelphia Phillies- This just seems like a team that would get Lee. They already have a nasty offense so you would expect them to have a nasty bench. I can see Lee tearing it up for this team in a reduced role off the bench in that hitter friendly park. They already have Ryan Howard and Ross Gload, but the Phillies like to collect good bats just for fun.
Milwaukee Brewers- Lee isn’t going to play over Prince Fielder…duh…but again with the pinch hitter role.
St Louis Cardinals- Its debatable whether Lee would be the starter here or not. Him and Pujols have similar value…..so he would come off the bench here too.
Overall Pittsburgh and Cleveland fit. Since they actually need a 1B they would give up the most. A combined deal with Koji to Pittsburgh would give the O’s the biggest return. More than likely though the O’s will wait until Lee passes through waivers and will deal him in August. By that time both Pittsburgh and Cleveland won’t be contenders. That means Lee is shipped somewhere for mid level Double A prospects and comes off the bench.