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


  1. Robinson Tilapia says:

    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.

  2. RetroRob says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

      Good point.

  3. Robinson Tilapia says:

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

  4. Bavarian Yankee says:

    “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 says:

      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)”

  5. Typical MIT Nerd says:

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

  6. Typical MIT Nerd says:

    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.

  7. Andy Pettitte's Fibula (former Manny's BanWagon) says:

    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 says:

      He didn’t get Ichiro for his bat.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      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 says:

        Aside from all that, you’re spot on.

        Well played.

      • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (former Manny's BanWagon) says:

        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) says:

          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 says:

      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) says:

        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.

  8. jsbrendog says:


  9. the Other Steve S. says:

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

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

  10. Eddard says:

    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) says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

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

        Exactly what I was thinking.

    • Sweet Dick Willie says:

      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 says:

      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.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:


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

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

  12. DERP says:

    So someone claimed Cliff Lee

  13. RetroRob says:

    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.

  14. Jacob says:

    Hey no more stewie and cc martin is catching today

  15. Eddard says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

      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 says:

      “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.

  16. godfather says:

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

  17. vicki says:

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

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