Derrek Lee

Reader dcf (he of the Ron Santo for the Hall pieces from a few years back) stops by with a guest column on the Lee-Ramirez-Zambrano years


The August 18th trade of Derrek Lee to the Braves for three minor league pitching prospects represents not only the end of an era, but also the end (and to some extent the failure) of a long term strategy. For some time, the Cubs have built their team around three core players, Lee, Zambranoand Ramirez, allocating a large percentage of their available salary dollars to these players in long term contracts. This strategy has not yielded the results anyone would have hoped for.

With Derrek Lee's departure to the South and front running Braves, the Cubs lost one of their finest players over the last 30 years. But just how fine was he?

I think we can agree that since 1980 (arbitrary cutoff by me, live with it) that Ryne Sandberg and Sammy Sosa are your top two Cubs depending on how much you want to dock Sosa for his alleged indiscretions. That leaves a quartet of Cubs vying for spots 3-7 among position players: Mark Grace, Andre Dawson, Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee.

Let's go to the HTML table:

UPDATE by Rob G: The deal is done and the Cubs get RHP Robinson Lopez (age 19), LHP Jeffrey Lorick (age 22, 20th round pick in 2009) and RHP Tyrelle Harris (age 23, 19th round pick in 2009). I bumped this up top, but be sure not to miss Arizona Phil's 2010 Rule 4 draft update below this post.


In today's installment of "Who Can We Pawn Off On The NL East Leaders?" we pass along word from David Kaplan (@thekapman) that the Cubs and Braves are "very close" on a deal that would move Derrek Lee to Atlanta. Kaplan says the deal "should get done later today."

Sorry to hear that D-Lee could be operating out of the first-base dugout this weekend when the Braves visit Wrigley? This will cheer you up.

Yeeechhh! That was nasty.

Wednesday night at Wrigley, the Cubs spotted the Dodgers a 5-0 lead, squandered opportunities to get the game close or even, then did get the game close, failed to get it closer, and lost.

Here's a professional summary of the 8-5 defeat, which was interrupted by an 18-minute power outage in the fourth inning.

Some quick thoughts...

— Tom Gorzelanny struggled with his command from the outset and all in all, pitched just poorly enough to provide some public relations cover to Jim Hendry and Lou Piniella in the next few days, when, I'm thinking, they will officially yank the lefty from the rotation in favor of Carlos Zambrano.

The Cubs beat the Dodgers, 3-0, on Tuesday night as Ryan Dempster outdueled Clayton Kershaw. Derrek Lee had a single, double, and two-run homer, and drove in all three Cub runs.

It was Dempster's first victory since April 23rd, Lee's first three-RBI game since April 16th, and his first three-hit game since the fourth game of the season way, way, way back on April 9th. 

Derrek Lee crushed a two-run double, Aramis Ramirez and Tyler Colvin had two hits a piece (and Colvin also stole a base and scored two runs), and Ryan Dempster threw five innings of shutout ball before tiring in the 6th, as the Cubs and Royals played to a 5-5 tie in Cactus League action at Surprise Stadium this afternoon.


 

Pablo Sandoval cranked a grand slam HR into the visitor's (upper) bullpen beyond the RF fence to cap a five-run third, and Jonathan Sanchez threw three shutout innings, as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Chicago Cubs 5-1 in Cactus League action under partly cloudy skies at cool & breezy Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this afternoon.


Joe Inglett clubbed a two-run homer with two outs in the top of the 9th, as the Milwaukee Brewers overcame an early 3-0 deficit and defeated the Cubs 5-3 in Cactus League action at cold and rainy Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in Mesa.


The start of the game was delayed almost an hour as a noon-time downpour flooded HoHoKam Park. But the rain did stop, and the dark clouds gradually broke apart, even allowing the sun to shine through by mid-game.


Tyler Colvin went 3-3 with two doubles and a solo HR, Derrek Lee and Marlon Byrd singled and homered, Sam Fuld blasted a two-run home run, Brad Snyder ripped a 450+ foot solo HR, Kosuke Fukudome doubled and singled, Starlin Castro tripled, and five Cubs pitchers combined to throw a three-hitter, as the Cubs drubbed the Oakland A's 9-3 in front of 7,496 fans at the 2010 Cubs Cactus League Opener at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny & breezy Mesa this afternoon.


box score


From the Daily Herald:

"I don't think that was our problem last year," Lee said of bad
chemistry. "I just think we didn't play good baseball, and the injuries
mounted up on us."

Woah, Woah, Woah! Slow down there, Derrek! I realized you were one of the last team members to make it to Arizona so you might have missed the welcome packet, but please take a look at it, particularly page three on "Talking to the Media" and the subsection on "Discussing 2009":

"All employees of the Chicago National League Ballclub are required to discuss the improved clubhouse chemistry of the team in 2010 because of the departure of Milton Bradley. Whenever asked about the 2009 season and what went wrong, please direct all responses to a difficult clubhouse environment and if possible mention Milton Bradley by name. Eachy mention of how fun it is to have Kevin Millar around will earn you an extra $10 in per diem money."

Live Long and Prosper.

It's not a good thing for the Cubs when I'm writing all these articles. It means somebody on the team is injured, exploding or a decision on how to use (or not) the disabled list is looming. So I'll keep this maximally short (oxymoron that I am).

Today we finally get some good news and the results from the MRI on DLee shows the same old, same old. Yes, a bulging disc is causing neck and upper back spasms. No, he won't go on the DL. Yes, he'll be ready to play in the next game or so against San Diego at Wrigley Field.

Tags: 

Torii Hunter crushed a lead-off first-pitch home run to ignite a seven-run 4th inning, propelling the Angels to an 8-4 victory over the Cubs at Ho Ho Kam Park this afternoon in Mesa, as the Cubs set an all-time single-season Cactus League attendance record. (It probably helped that the 2009 Cactus League season was extended by a week and a few extra home games to accomodate the WBC).   

box score

As part of this Cubs history kick that started with Wiklifield, I had this idea of trying to figure out what was the best individual season by a member of the Cubs. As I started pouring through the research I decided that the burden of annointing the best Cubs' season ever was too much for this humble Cubs fan. Now I realize as a blogger and top 10 list-maker, I'm suppose to just present my opinion as fact and not accept any other arguments, but I decided for this instance to enlist the rest of the TCR writers.

I put together a list of 27 great Cubs seasons and put it to a vote and would weigh it MVP-style (10 pts for a first place vote, 9 for a second place vote, etc). The criteria for this list were all the Cubs' NL MVP seasons and Cy Young winners and then the best of the rest based on sabermetric dominance in either WARP-3 or Win Shares (Lee in 2005) , historical signifcance  (Wilson's RBI record in 1930) or place in Cubs history (Sutcliffe in 1984). Now there may have been a few names that deserved to be in that
original top 27 list over some other names, but I'm sure I didn't miss
the top season. As I mentioned in the poll, just think of it as the
NCAA tournament...there's a lot of arguments on who deserved to be in
the original 65 picks, but those that are left out never really had a
chance to win the whole thing. 

The only instruction I laid out for their votes was to use whatever
criteria each writer saw fit. Some of us have a sabermetric slant to
the world, some like MVP trophies, some just remember what we saw and
its impact at the time and so forth and so on. Transmission, Cubnut, Dr. Hecht and myself ended up participating and our ballots are listed at the end of the post. The final results for the readers voting is also at the end. We by no means believe this is the list to rule all lists, but it was an interesting exercise nonetheless. I mean if Arizona Phil or Christian had submitted their ballots, the final results could have been very different. Also, we tend to believe with our eyes and hearts and I don't think any of us saw much baseball before 1950 - and for some of us - not much before 1980. Speaking for myself, I had a hard time giving double credit for a player, generally focusing on what I felt to be their best season, even if they had a second or third great season that deserved to be recognized. But this is more art than science and the final results certainly are skewed by a small sample size.

In the opener of the Cubs' just-completed series in Toronto, Derrek Lee, playing the part of Designated Hitter, went 0-for-3 with a strikeout; Aramis Ramirez, in his regular third base role, went 2-for-5.

On Saturday, Ramirez took over the DH role and went 1-for-5 with two K's and left five men on base; Derrek Lee returned to his accustomed position at first base and went 3-for-4 with two runs scored.

Always one to jump to a quick conclusion, on Saturday night, I got to thinking that just maybe this DH thing was a little trickier than one might imagine, especially for National League players who don't know what it is to have four or five at-bats in a game separated not by time in the field, but by long idle stretches in the dugout, or back in the clubhouse, doing whatever it is DH's do when they're not sitting idle in the dugout.

Paul Sullivan writes in the Tribune that the Cubs will recall Micah Hoffpauir from Iowa as the team begins its interleague schedule with three games at SkyDome this weekend. Lou Piniella's plan is to let Hoffpauir play first base and left field, which will alternately allow Derrek Lee and Alfonso Soriano to "rest" as they see DH duty.

Daryle Ward, still on the DL, took batting practice Tuesday and according to Sullivan "will report to the Cubs' complex in Mesa, Ariz., on Wednesday to get
some at-bats before going on a minor-league rehab stint at Iowa."

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