The Houston Astros are one of the few teams that can clearly be labeled sellers at this point and 1B Carlos Lee was in demand, having been the subject of a proposed trade to the Dodgers that didn’t happen. But Houston turned around and traded Lee to the Marlins on Wednesday for two minor-leaguers.
The Dodgers offense has been struggling without Matt Kemp and, now, Andre Ethier and 1B is one of their weaker offensive positions. Lee has a limited no-trade clause, and the Dodgers are one of the teams that he can not be dealt to without his approval. After waiting a day or so for a decision from Lee, the Dodgers pulled out of the trade.
The Miami Marlins are not on Lee’s no-trade list and the Astros will be picking up most of the $9M owed to Lee, who is in the last year of a 6yr/$100M contract. Despite the fact that, at age 36, Lee is hitting .287/.336/411 with just 5 homers in 277 plate appearances, he will be an upgrade over what Miami is getting from Gaby Sanchez. He also adds another right-handed bat to a mostly right-handed lineup, which isn’t ideal, but many of those bats are extremely potent.
The added wild-card team has put many more teams in play as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches and the transaction action may heat up earlier this season than in years past.