After Carlos Lee took his sweet time to contemplate accepting a trade to Los Angeles, the Dodgers pulled the plug on the potential trade Sunday. Friday evening trade rumors began to swirl, and later a potential deal which involved the Astros’ Lee and the Dodgers’ Garrett Gould was reported to be in the works. The only hitch was that Carlos Lee has a limited-trade clause in his contract, and most sources speculated that he did not wish to leave the Houston area where he owns a private ranch.
“If they don’t want to be here, then I don’t want them” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said on Saturday.
I couldn’t agree more with Mattingly. As the days lingered on while everyone waited for Lee to discuss his options with his family, it became apparent that his reluctance signaled his desire to stay put. Although Lee has every right to veto the trade as stated in his contract, the prolonged wait on his decision was a bit bothersome for Houston and Dodger fans alike.
Lee had still not made an official yay or nay following his game with the Astros on Sunday, so the Dodgers backed out of the deal after losing patience. While it’s no secret that the Dodgers need improved infield corners, Carlos Lee certainly wasn’t the perfect solution. Lee, although a seasoned veteran who can still hit around a career .286 batting average, is definitely not in his prime. The deal would not have only netted the Astros a top pitching prospect in Gould who has been ranked in the top 10 within the Dodger farm system by MLB.com, but it would have most likely garnered them the remaining amount owed on Lee’s final year of his contract (around $9 million).
Garrett Gould is 1-6 with a 5.12 ERA with the Advanced-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes so far this season. He has started 12 games and has struck out 72 batters in 72 innings of work. Gould may still be a potential trade token at the end of this month since the Dodgers have quite a few pitching prospects in their pipeline.
Like Hiroki Kuroda‘s decision to invoke his no-trade clause last July with the Dodgers, the Astros fans are perturbed that Lee wouldn’t play in L.A. for a few months in order to help the organization acquire some young talent. It is uncertain whether the Astros will resign Lee next season as they transition into the American League.
As for the Dodgers, they continue to look for an improvement at first base. James Loney‘s currently disappointing season has only equated to 2 homeruns and 22 RBIs. This past offseason, the Dodgers made an offer to first baseman Prince Fielder and they have been rumored to have scouted Bryan LaHair of the Chicago Cubs.
The Dodgers certainly need another bat in the lineup, and the lack of power or production from the corners will not get them to the postseason. Carlos Lee was not a good fit, but the trade deadline looms at the end of this month and brings possibility of change along with it. The dilemma will be balancing the decision between letting potential future Dodgers go for a player who may only be with the team in the short-term. Of course we want to win now, but we shouldn’t raid our farm system of top prospects unless we receive top talent in return.