According to multiple sources, the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed in principle on a trade that would send Carlos Lee to the Dodgers in exchange for a pair of pitching prospects. Those reports aren’t exact on the prospects returning to the Astros, but mlbtraderumors.com reported that A ball prospect Garrett Gould was pulled from his start last night.
The Dodgers are searching for more offense since Matt Kemp has been on the shelf with hamstring issues. James Loney has been playing first base, but he is sporting a .236 average with two home runs. Lee would be an upgrade as he is hitting .290 with five home runs. He can also play some left field as well.
According to reports, the Dodgers would prefer to take on more money so they can avoid giving up their best prospects. So, the Astros would get out from under Lee’s remaining 9 million dollars if they trade gets consummated. Whether the Astros would get Gould or anyone else in the trade is anyone’s best guess. Gould has struggled in the California League this season, but came into the year rated as the Dodgers sixth best prospect.
Carlos Lee waived his ten and five rights when he signed the six year 100 million dollar contract in order to get a partial no trade clause. He can veto trades to fourteen teams and the Dodgers are apparently one of those teams. Lee spoke to the press this morning and informed them that he had been approached by Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow about the trade. He did not indicate one way or another whether he would waive his no trade clause to accept the trade to the Dodgers.
As of early this afternoon, Buster Olney of ESPN.com is reporting that Lee will not waive his no trade clause, but he had not been given a deadline on when he had to make a decision. He might end up taking the whole weekend to make up his mind. While it might seem easy to go to a contender, there are several things keeping Lee from wanting a change.
First, he has a ranch near Houston and he has a trucking business that is based in Texas. So, he likely will retire to Texas when his playing days are over. Lee has made all kinds of noise that he might retire from the game following the season. So, while the lure of playing in October is strong, staying close to home might also be a big deal for him. Secondly, if he does have a desire to play beyond the season, he might not want to go to Dodger Stadium for half of his games. The park is not as hitter friendly as Minute Maid Park and he is already at a point where he might struggle to find a guaranteed contract for next season.
One thing is for sure, both sides would love for this trade to go through. If the Astros are able to get the Dodgers to take on his whole remaining contract, it might give the Astros enough savings to facilitate a Wandy Rodriguez deal as we approach the deadline. They also have Brett Wallace playing well in Oklahoma City. As for the Dodgers, they can get a proven veteran hitter without surrendering a lot in terms of prospects. That would allow them to reel in a bigger fish when the deadline is near.