More on Carlos Lee and the Yankees


(Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

The Yankees only swung one move prior to the trade deadline, acquiring Casey McGehee from the Pirates for a bag of Qualls*. The Marlins tried to foist Carlos Lee on New York however, but the former Astros slugger invoked his no-trade clause to prevent a possible move to the Big Apple. Lee had previously vetoed a potential trade to the Dodgers while with Houston, mostly because he didn’t want to move far from his family. The Marlins were not included in his limited no-trade clause, so he had no choice to accept that move.

What the Yankees would have done with Lee is unclear, especially since their need was at third base and not first base or DH. Fernando Ballesteros has the answer after catching a conversation between Lee and a teammate, however. Here’s the translation**…

“Lee said that he talked with the Yankees and asked them what his role would be if (Mark Teixeira) was healthy. They told him that then he would be sent to left field and that they would alternate him in the lineup with Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez, Ichiro Suzuki, and Nick Swisher. Lee said that he told them an emphatic ‘no.’”

Lee, 36, has been playing first base exclusively for just about a full season now and was a disaster in the outfield before the move. I mean, legit worst defensive outfielder in baseball type of stuff. He’s also been declining steadily at the plate, even against left-handers. Jon Heyman says the Yankees agreed to buy Lee from the Marlins for $1M before he put an end to things, but even at that price the move wouldn’t have made much sense. Lee just isn’t a fit for the roster he wouldn’t have helped the offense much either. McGehee makes immeasurably more sense.

* I have no idea who came up with that for where I first saw it, but it’s brilliant.
** The translation comes courtesy of Nick Collias, who digs up rumors from Spanish language media outlets for MLBTR.

Categories : Trade Deadline
  • Robinson Tilapia

    This is actually more of a “Papa George would have done this” moment than most of what gets claimed as a “Papa George would have done this” moment.

    • Bunt Gardner

      Papa George would have paid $2m and a prospect.

      • Murderers’ Row Boat

        Then complained about him sucking when he ordered the manager to play him.

    • jjyank

      This is most likely true.

  • RetroRob

    Ummm, this says to me the Yankees were concerned enough about Tex that they were looking at Lee. Since that was only a couple days back, it makes me wonder how serious Tex’s injury is.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Possible. My mind hadn’t gone there, but we’ll see if it’s true the next few days.

      I’d still take my chances with Swish/Chavez/McGeehee at first rather than Carlos Lee.

      • RetroRob

        So would I.

        It was just the translated conversation leads me to believe they were going after Lee as protection for Tex. Hopefully he’s in the lineup soon.

    • Typical MIT Nerd

      Good point.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Also, while I didn’t come up with “bag of Qualls,” I did come up with the now-defunct “bridge to Qualls.”

    • Kosmo

      actually I came up with the “bag of qualls“ comment.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    “Lee had previously vetoed a potential trade to the Dodgers while with Houston, mostly because he didn’t want to move far from his family. The Marlins were not included in his limited no-trade clause, so he had no choice to accept that move.”

    but Lee could’ve blocked the trade to the Marlins, right? He had 10-5 rights, so I guess he approved that trade.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      according to Cot’s, Lee had previously waived his 10-5 rights

      “full no-trade clause in 2007-10, may block deals to 14 clubs annually in 2011-12 (upon signing with Houston, Lee agreed to waive 10-and-5 rights in exchange for blanket no-trade protection for the first four years of the contract)”

      • Bavarian Yankee

        thanks, didn’t know that.

  • Typical MIT Nerd

    I’d rather have offense in Lee than “defense” in McGehee.

    • Steve (different one)

      If Lee could play 3B, this comment would make more sense.

  • Typical MIT Nerd

    With these “choices” why release Cust? He could have been an extra bat, especially now. And I’m not at all convinced that Ibanez and Jones are better. Their OBPs are horrid and so is their defense.

    • Big Member

      Cust struck out 30% of the times he picked up the bat in fricken AAA. Jones is not “horrid” in LF.

    • jjyank

      Ibanez and Jones on defense isn’t great, but at least they can play the position. Cust is not an outfielder.

  • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (former Manny’s BanWagon)

    It kind of surprises me how little Cashman seems to care about outfield defense. They played the below average Granderson in CF all last year over the vastly superior Brett Gardner and They’ve been playing the abysmal Ibanez out there this year.

    Now we get word they were willing to play Carlos Lee in LF would be below average even in a slow pitch softball league.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      He didn’t get Ichiro for his bat.

    • Steve (different one)

      You make it sound like Gardner was on the bench last year. The difference between swapping them just isnt that large, LF in YS is quite large.

      And playing Ibanez in the LF was not the plan. Gardner got hurt. And Ibanez has not been “abysmal”.

      Aside from all that, you’re spot on.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        Aside from all that, you’re spot on.

        Well played.

      • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (former Manny’s BanWagon)

        Hate to break it to you but yes Ibanez is a horrible outfielder. Take a gander at his UZR over the last 3 years or so and it’s pretty plain to see.

        The difference between CF and LF is not insignificant which is why pretty much every team plays their best outfielder in CF. LF is pretty much where every team hides their worst defensive outfielder. As for YS3, the Yankees still play as many games on the road home in case you forgot.

        When they signed Ibanez, it WAS in part because they felt he could play the outfielder, maybe not this much but still on occasion. They have also allowed the brutal Marcus Thames to play OF not long ago and now we hear they were going to let Carlos Lee play OF.

        The evidence is pretty strong that the Yankees don’t place a high value on OF defense but you got your panties in a wad defending a perceived shot at Cashman (which wasn’t my intention) and missed the point.

        • Steve (different one)

          Right, but the fact that Brett Gardner has been starting for the Yankees for several years refutes your very premise. Just because he starts in LF instead of CF doesn’t prove anything. If he didn’t play great defense, he wouldn’t start for the Yankees. That seems fairly obvious to me.

          Ibanez was signed to play LF on occasion. And he’s been about average this year. How could that be if he is truly “abysmal”? He’s not good, I will grant you that, but to me “abysmal” means every play is an adventure, and I haven’t seen that level of incompetence. Maybe it’s semantics.

          Also, Thames was a NRI who got his chance because the defense-first guy (Winn) Cashman prioritized bombed out. Then there was the Ichiro trade, who was brought in mostly for defense.

          So no, I don’t believe that it’s true that the Yankees don’t care at all about OF defense. Too much evidence otherwise.

    • RetroRob

      He does. Remember he redid teh entire Yankee OF several years back to improve the defense, replacing Damon with Granderson, replacing Abreu with Swisher and keeping Gardner for his great defense and putting him in left. Grandy’s defense has dropped and Gardner is injured. There’s a balance, but there is no evidence to support he doesn’t care about OF defense.

      • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (former Manny’s BanWagon)

        Maybe I overstated it but it still surprises me they signed Ibanez with the intention of allowing him to play some outfield and now appeared ready to do the same with Carlos Lee, which is kind of incomprehensible.

  • jsbrendog


  • the Other Steve S.

    “I mean, legit worst defensive outfielder in baseball type of stuff. ”

    Anybody remember Youkilis in left at Fenway a couple years ago? Absolutely hilarious.

  • Eddard

    This article is talking about the wrong Lee. Cliff Lee was put on waivers for the taking and we should grab him. Per Keith Law, flags fly forever. Therefore, we should pick up Lee to win the WS this year. This aging roster is running out of time so the time is now. Pick up Cliff Lee and go with a playoff rotation of CC, Lee, Andy, Kuroda.

    • Steve (different one)

      You are assuming the Phils just let him go. Big assumption. Also assuming someone with a higher priority on the waiver wire doesn’t put in a claim first.

      Also, there is a whole thread on this.

      Also, we don’t need Keith Law to tell us that “flags fly forever”, do we?

      • jjyank

        Right, I don’t see Lee being a straight salary dump. I’m sure they’d want something useful back. As I said last night, I’m not really a fan of getting Lee now.

      • FIPster Doofus

        “Also, we don’t need Keith Law to tell us that “flags fly forever”, do we?”

        Exactly what I was thinking.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      Well Lee may not be that motivated to pitch in NY seeing as he got a WS ring as part of the vaunted Halladay, Lee, Hamels rotation.

      Oh, wait…

    • Bavarian Yankee

      Lee has been claimed on waivers! I fully expect the Phillies to pull him back but it’s fun to guess who claimed him. My money is on the O’s.

      • Roadgeek Adam

        Blanton went to the Dodgers, could happen.

    • Robinson Tilapia


      Do we use a bear trap, or just drop a net on him?

  • Roadgeek Adam

    Kind of off topic, but Johnny Damon was DFA’d today. So Matsui, now Damon both DFAd after we turned both down.

    • MartinRanger

      39 year old Raul Ibanez looking like a great move at this point no?

      • Roadgeek Adam

        Clearly yes, but I do wish inside we had both of them still. Maybe being back with old teammates would help their struggles.

  • DERP

    So someone claimed Cliff Lee

    • Jacob

      according to mike on twitter we did >.>

      • Roadgeek Adam

        For those of us who don’t use Twitter, could you post it?

  • RetroRob

    According to Jon Heyman, some team has claimed Cliff Lee. So now the Phillies can pull him back or work out a deal. Since he has something like 20 teams on his no-trade list, it won’t be easy.

  • Jacob

    Hey no more stewie and cc martin is catching today

    • RetroRob

      You know, CC has been pretty inconsistent (for him) of late. You don’t get to keep your personal catcher unless you’re putting up great games!

      • Jacob

        Yep I am super glad, I hate the personal catcher shit.

  • Eddard

    If that team is us we need to make it work. Not getting Lee cost us a WS berth in 2010 so we shouldn’t make the same mistake twice. Cashman wouldn’t throw Eduardo Nunez into the deal who can’t field a lick. Take the salary, set up a playoff rotation of CC, Lee, Andy, Kuroda and give us a rotation that can compete with the Angels and Rangers.

    • RetroRob

      It might have cost the Yankees. Baseball is a funny game.

      Cliff Lee is also older, more expensive, and perhaps in decline and owned nearly $30M a year for the next three years with the buyout. I know it’s not your money, but they do have a budget and and it needs to be considered. Lee is not a sure thing in case you missed the his recent World Series appearances.

      • RetroRob

        BTW The odds of it being the Yankees are small. He didn’t clear waivers, and the odds of him making it to the Yankees are small. A team like the Dodgers probably nailed him.

    • Jacob

      It fell apart because of adams ankle, choose your side are you picking the gloom and doom or the season is over side? You are getting very annoying with your ridiculous comments

    • Robinson Tilapia

      “Not getting Lee cost us a WS berth in 2010 so we shouldn’t make the same mistake twice.”

      *Goes into Stephen A. Smith voice*

      the ONLY REASON…..whythenewyorkyankees…..DID NOT WIN theworldseriesin2010…..was……becausetheydidnotHAAAAAAVE…..clifflee.

  • http://franklance godfather

    as lees go, i’d rather have spike, cliff being so costly and carlos so full of both calories and himself

  • vicki

    probably sour grapes but a dodger insider said carlos vetoed the trade because he didn’t want to pay california taxes.