Tag:Derrek Lee
Posted on: August 20, 2010 1:57 am
Edited on: August 20, 2010 9:09 pm

3 to watch: The Legends of the dugout edition

Between them, they've managed nearly 8,000 major-league games. But do you want to guess how many games Bobby Cox and Lou Piniella have managed against each other?

It's not as many as you think. Only 81, with three more coming this weekend in Chicago -- presumably the final three, with both Cox and Piniella saying they'll retire at the end of the season.

The tally so far, according to research through baseball-reference.com , has Cox with 41 wins and Piniella with 40. They've never met in the playoffs, even though Cox went to the postseason 15 times with the Blue Jays and Braves, and Piniella made it to October seven times with the Reds, Mariners and Cubs.

Cox, whose Braves lead the Phillies by 2 1/2 games in the National League East, has another chance at the postseason this year. Piniella, whose Cubs are 22 games under .500, has a chance to go home when the regular season ends on Oct. 3.

And that, of course, is why Derrek Lee agreed to leave Piniella and join Cox, approving the trade that gave the Braves their new first baseman. The trade was finalized while Lee was sitting in the Cubs dugout during their Wednesday loss to the Padres, and Lee's first game for the Braves will be Friday afternoon against the Cubs.

"I told him to go get his uniform off, he wasn't on our team anymore and I didn't want him stealing our signs," Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster joked with reporters after the game. Dempster will be the first Cubs pitcher to face Lee, as he's the starter Friday. "He started trying to bribe me and asked me how I was going to pitch certain hitters. Sneaky dog."

On to 3 to watch:

1. According to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News , the Giants sent playoff ticket invoices to their season ticket holders this week. As Baggarly said, incredibly bad timing, with the Giants falling six games behind the Padres in the National League West, and dropping out of the wild-card lead, as well. It doesn't help that ace Tim Lincecum has been pitching poorly, and it may not help Lincecum that his next start comes against Chris Carpenter, in Giants at Cardinals, Saturday night (7:15 ET) at Busch Stadium . A year ago, Lincecum against Carpenter would have been a Cy Young elimination battle. Now, with the Cards falling 3 1/2 games behind the Reds in the NL Central, it looks more like a wild-card elimination battle.

2. The Braves have the worst road record (27-33) of any team that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. With the Phillies getting healthy and hot, that may need to change if Cox is going to get that going-away postseason gift. This weekend against the struggling Cubs would be a good place to start. We'll know by the time Mike Minor faces Randy Wells, in Braves at Cubs, Sunday afternoon (2:20 ET) at Wrigley Field .

3. No matter how good or bad the teams out West are, East Coast teams always seem to fear West Coast trips, especially late in the season. Sure enough, the Rays lost the first game of their current seven-game trip to the coast, falling to the A's, 4-3, on Thursday night. The Rays are actually 6-4 on the Coast this season, but they're 16-19 since the start of 2008 (basically, since they've been good). The big game this weekend is the matchup of Dallas Braden and Matt Garza, in Rays at A's, Sunday afternoon (4:07 ET) at the Coliseum , in a matchup of two of the five pitchers who have thrown no-hitters this season.

Posted on: August 18, 2010 1:02 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2010 1:37 pm

Braves closing in on deal for Cubs' Lee

With a chance to get back to the postseason for the first time in five years, the Braves are working towards a deal to acquire Derrek Lee from the Cubs.

A source familiar with the talks said the trade was likely to be completed, and CSN Chicago reported Wednesday morning that Lee is expected to waive his no-trade clause to allow the deal to go through.

Lee, who is hitting .251 with 16 home runs, would become the Braves' primary first baseman, and would provide a middle-of-the-order bat to a team that recently lost Chipper Jones to a season-ending injury. Troy Glaus, the Braves slumping first baseman, would likely be placed on the disabled list until rosters expand on Sept. 1, and then would become a right-handed bat off the bench.

Lee makes $13 million this season, in the final year of a five-year contract. The money is significant, both to the Cubs (who will get payroll relief in addition to adding some minor-league players) and to the Braves (who decided that taking on a big contract now is worth it, because of the chance that's in front of them and the major need for another bat).

Signing Glaus last winter proved to be a very good move by the Braves, but he has provided little production recently, hitting just two home runs with 15 RBI in his last 46 games.

The Braves lead the Phillies by 2 1/2 games in the National League East, but they realize that the Phillies are finally getting healthy, with Chase Utley returning on Tuesday night and Ryan Howard soon to follow.

The Braves, who value makeup as much as any team (see the Yunel Escobar trade with the Blue Jays), see Lee as a player who fits in perfectly, both in their lineup and in their clubhouse.

Category: MLB
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