Well, the rebuilding of the Cubs maybe upon us. As according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe the Cubs would move Derrek Lee if the opportunity becomes available.
"Derrek Lee, first baseman, Cubs: If the Cubs could move him, they would, according to multiple scouts. The 34-year-old first baseman is in the final year of a five-year, $65 million contract, earning $13 million this season. The Cubs are looking to shake things up, but a taker for Lee will be hard to find if teams feel his bat is slowing. Lee also has a no-trade clause. BOSTON GLOBE"
To be honest this comes as little surprise to myself, considering that two years ago the Cubs were quietly shopping Derrek Lee around the league. Although Derrek Lee is one of my favorite Cubs’ players and he is essentially a team leader, I think the best option for the Cubs is to trade him. Because, at age 34 his offensive production is not going to get much better from here on out. And, instead of the Cubs letting Lee walk at the end of the year, why not get something for him when he still has some value.
But, at this point in his career what value does Lee have on the trade market. As, he is an aging slugger who has struggled at the plate this year, but is only a year removed from hitting 36 home runs and driving in over 100 runs. I don’t think the Cubs will get top prospects in return for Lee, but instead they would probably get an average MLB ready player, with maybe a couple mid to low level prospects thrown in there.
Another issue that may come up with moving Derrek Lee, is the fact that he has a no trade clause in his contract. While he loves playing on the Cubs and loves his life in Chicago, something tells me he would be willing to waive it if it meant getting a shot at a World Series title with a contender. And, to be honest I don’t see him getting that shot with the Cubs this year.
I would imagine teams like the Athletics, Yankees (Given that Nick Johnson maybe out till August), and Toronto all maybe interested in possibly acquiring Lee. I’m sure that Lee would waive his no trade clause with the Athletics, given he is from the bay area, and the Yankees considering they have strong chances to be in the World Series.
If the Cubs were to trade Lee, I’m not sure what they would intend to at the first base position for the future. Because, I don’t think that Micah Hoffpauir is the answer for the future. A scenario that has been discussed before was possibly having Aramis Ramirez or top prospect Josh Vitters move to first base, and then have the other remain at Third. But, I’m not sure that is still up for discussion, considering Ramirez may opt out at the end of the season, or the Cubs could look to trade him as well. However, I would not expect the Cubs to trade both Ramirez and Lee. But, I do think it is fairly possible that one of them maybe on the move before the trade deadline.