Reggie Von Bartles
Trading Places: Derrek Lee Traded to Pittsburgh
Sunday July 31st, 2011
With Major League Baseball's trade deadline coming down the wire, the Pittsburgh Pirates have reportedly acquired first baseman Derrek Lee from the Baltimore Orioles for a minor league player.
After signing a one-year, $7.25 million contract with the Orioles during the off-season, Lee started off slow at the plate, hitting .235/.294/.372 with a .666 OPS in the first half of the season.
However, Lee is hitting .321/.368/.604 with a .972 OPS since the All-Star break. Overall, Lee is hitting .248/.306/.409 this season while providing a solid defensive presence at first base for the Orioles.
Lee, 35, immediately becomes the favorite for playing time at first base for the Pirates. Although his numbers haven't been stellar this season, the Pirates first basemen have combined to hit .228/.303/.343 with a .645 OPS in 2011.
Lyle Overbay has played first base a majority of the games for the Buccos this season, and is hitting .228/.301/.343 with a .644 OPS this season. Since the All-Star break, Overbay is hitting .149/.245/.255 with just two extra-base hits.
In return for Lee, the Orioles received minor league first baseman Aaron Baker. Baker, 23, was drafted by the Pirates in the eleventh round of the 2009 MLB Draft. In his first three professional seasons, he's hitting .263/.344/.452 with a .797 OPS. Baseball America didn't have Baker ranked among the organization's top 30 prospects prior to the season.
With Lee in Pittsburgh, the Orioles will give their first base job to recently acquired corner infielder Chris Davis. According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles are going to give Davis a chance to "sink or swim" the rest of the season.
From a fantasy view, Lee is enjoying a terrific month of July, but will his production continue for the rest of the season? For NL-only managers, Lee is worth a solid amount of your free-agent acquisition budget (FAAB), but I wouldn't dump your remaining budget on the veteran first baseman based on production and possible playing time concerns. In deeper leagues, Lee's value doesn't change much, and he can still be used as a corner infielder in deeper leagues.
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