Late last night the Pirates finally got on the board and acquired a bat when they traded minor leaguer Aaron Baker to the Baltimore Orioles for first baseman Derrek Lee.
This season Lee is hitting for .246/.302/.404 line in 85 games for Baltimore. However, since July 17th Lee has been hitting much better for a .294/.331/.538 clip that includes a vast majority of his home runs (eight of his 12).
A few days ago it was leaked that the Pirates were looking into Lee as a possibility and I immediately dismissed it because I didn’t want to see him in a Pirates uniform. Over the past couple days there have been some nice posts on Lee from some fellow Pirates bloggers about Lee’s second half resurgence and now it seems like a decent acquisition. Obviously Lee is going to be a massive upgrade over Lyle Overbay, so in that regard I guess we can say that the trade is a huge win. Typically Lee is a second half player so if he can continue putting up the kind of numbers he has since July 17th then this is going to be a really nice pickup for the Bucs.
For the rest of the season ZiPS has Lee hitting for a .265/.338/.432 line with a .338 wOBA in around 206 plate appearances. They also project him to hit around seven home runs and score 26 runs so that is more than acceptable in my eyes to get him for a minor leaguer that might not have amounted to much in Baker.
Lee will also help the Pirates defensively as he will provide an upgrade over Overbay in that aspect also. Coming into the season Overbay was considered to be a very good defensive first baseman, but we just haven’t seen that this season so far. Lee has been steady through his entire career defensively and while he is defiantly not in his prime he should still be able to pick a few more balls than Overbay was able to do this season.
To make things perfectly clear, getting Lee doesn’t make this Pirates team a playoff contender. I think one thing most fans should take from this series with the Phillies it’s that while the Pirates have had a really unbelievable year so far they are still a good bit away from being a true contender in the National League. This move makes the Pirates better on the field, which is a huge help, so it should be interesting to see how things go from here. There is still some time left before the deadline so Neal Huntington and company could still make some moves but for right now I think this is a decent upgrade at the first base position.
Overall a good move. I don’t expect Lee to come in and play over his head, but some stability at the first base position will be a welcome to sign to almost all Pirates fans.
I also would like to note that you spell his first name Derrek.