One of the things that I love about the social media generation we live in currently is that instead of turning on a sports talk radio station and listen to a host ramble on about why this trade was bad, or belittle their callers as morons, I can turn to twitter and find out what fans are saying about a trade as it happens. Shockingly, most of the reactions regarding the Derrek Lee trade were Cubs fans calling it a dumb move. I can't figure out why.
Sure, there are Cubs fans who love Lee. I mean absolutely love him. I'm sure they feel like GM Jim Hendry is trading away all of their best players and getting nothing in return. Here's the thing, though. At the end of the season, the Cubs would have gotten absolutely nothing for him. Nothing. Nada. Zero. And in this case, something (3 pitching prospects) is always better than nothing.
Cubs fans hate the word prospects because it always means wait till next year. And that seems to be the refrain every year. However, if any Cubs fan thought the Cubs were still in it this year, being 21 games under .500 and playing poorly since the beginning of June, I got news for you. Were not.
So, you have a pending FA in Lee. As of right now, Lee is tracking to be a Type B FA, meaning you get one extra draft pick somewhere between 30 and 60 usually in the 2011 draft. That's on two conditions however: 1. Another team must sign Lee. And with him turning 35 and coming off a very down year, is no guarantee. 2. He has to turn down arbitration, which he would be stupid to do, seeing as no team will give him a one year deal at $9.6 million, the lowest his salary could go via arbitration. Do you want to pay a 35 year-old 1B with back problems and had a terrible, terrible year $9.6 million? Didn't think so. No, moving Lee now was a great idea, one that Hendry should be applauded for. Maybe next time, I'll explain why the Lily and Theriot deal makes sense as well.