2012 Dodgers in Review #5a: 1B Carlos Lee

(w/MIA) .243/.328/.325 338pa 4hr 0.0 fWAR A++

2012 in brief: Over-the-hill veteran helped Dodgers avoid the bullet of trading a decent prospect to Houston for him by refusing to accept trade to Los Angeles.

2013 status: Free agent with a boatload of “I really don’t care”.

******

That’s right, we’re reviewing a player today who never once suited up for the Dodgers, yet may have had a larger impact on the season than half the guys who did.

As it became clear that continuing on with James Loney was untenable, both the Dodgers and the fans began to look elsewhere for first base options, though with the Adrian Gonzalez trade still months away, the alternatives seemed uninspiring.

By the end of June, the Dodgers had settled on a deal with Houston that would have sent pitching prospect Garrett Gould for Carlos Lee and most or all of the money still due him. As you can imagine, we were less than pleased:

So you want to trade Gould? Fine. In a system deep in good-but-not-great righty starters, it’s the perfect place to deal from depth, and you can lose him without too much trouble. The question would be, is Lee really worth the effort? I mean, sure, he’s better than the execrable Loney, who is just two or three more hitless plate appearances from having his OBP dip below .300. But that’s like saying that Adam Kennedy isn’t your least favorite Dodger because Juan Uribe still exists; it’s not exactly high praise to say you’re better than Loney.

Lee entered play on Saturday hitting .291/.344/.410, which is fine, I suppose. It’s an upgrade, sure, but what’s problematic is that he’s hitting far better in Houston (.286/.362/.459, all five of his homers) than he is on the road (.297/.317/.347, zero homers). I get that Loney is terrible – and he is – but importing a guy without a single homer away from the hitter-friendly Houston park seems like an odd choice to try and fix your power outage. Toss in the fact that he’s a huge defensive downgrade from Loney, important in an infield that has Dee Gordon playing every day, and while Lee might represent something of an upgrade I’m just not sure it’s worth the bother.

Again, I don’t care too much about losing Gould, and we’ll see what, if anything, actually ends up happening. If it does happen, it’s not going to be too difficult to not see Loney’s name in there every night, I’ll admit. (Though I imagine he’d need to be retained for defensive purposes.) It just seems like a deal that would be more about doing something – as I joked on Twitter, “Carlos Lee is a hitter. We need a hitter. Therefore, we need Carlos Lee” – than it is about actually finding a guy who solves the real problem.

Lee kept the Dodgers hanging for days with the baseball version of a pocket veto, never officially invoking his no-trade clause but refusing to waive it, either. Eventually, the Dodgers withdrew the trade offer and on July 4, he was traded to Miami (who were not included on his no-trade list) where he did, well, nothing. A .325 SLG%? Hell, even Loney did better than that when he was still a Dodger. In over 330 plate appearances for the Marlins, as you can see above, Lee was essentially replacement level.

Gould’s not a top prospect (though at least one scout actually prefers him to Zach Lee), but losing him for the mediocre Lee never made sense, and who knows if acquiring him would have then prevented solving the first base problem for years to come with Gonzalez (who I wrote about this morning at FanGraphs). I know not everyone liked the risky Boston trade, and that’s fine, but as I sit here today, I’m much happier having Gonzalez & Gould than an unfillable hole at first base and no Gould. Even for those who argue that they may have made the trade anyway even if they had Lee, giving up Gould for Lee still never made sense, just based on what Lee was likely to do for the rest of the season.

So for you, Carlos, by refusing to accept a bad trade and then making us look great by being terrible in Miami, that’s a well-earned A++. Smell you never.

******

Next up! Juan Rivera, #RBImachine!

594 comments
Real Tom
Real Tom

I was so happy to find this post. Thanks Mike. So good.

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

stuck on the couch for at least another day. this sucks the bad kind of balls. 

Mike Petriello
Mike Petriello moderator

Justin Sellers review done. God, this team had a bunch of crappy players.

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

ok, signing off for now, hoping sleep is coming in the next hour or two. if not, i'll be back. have fun, folks. 

DBrim
DBrim moderator

My roommate pan fried a steak two days ago.  He screwed up and got the juice everywhere.  He cleaned it pretty thoroughly.

 

But the apartment still smells like steak.

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

mark it.

 

the day the goat started learning his way around fangraphs. 

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

 @el serracho Ya mean the big hairy kind? I bet it hurts when you laugh then. That's the worst Goat. Maybe today the meds will ease yo pain!

Deuce (is loose)
Deuce (is loose)

 @Mike Petriello  Treanor, Loney, Rivera, Dee, Uribe, Kennedy all truly crappy.  Gwynn and Abreu only partial crap.  Who'd I miss?  Too many AB's and innings from crappy to contend.

DBrim
DBrim moderator

 @el serracho October 19th, 2012 will forever live in infamy.

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

 @el serracho And if that don't work theres always the Pirate method of painkillin. 2 vicodins washed down with 3 shots of Rum. Don't leave the house or try to walk afterwards til tomorrow.

Mike Petriello
Mike Petriello moderator

 @Deuce and you can all enjoy crappy Juan Rivera, auto-publishing at 12p PT

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@Deuce @Mike Petriello I'd include Whining Hawaiian, and Guerrier's meltdowns. The farm hands like Sands, Van Slyke, and Castle couldn't buy at bats. De Jesus spent more time on the bench, and in the bowling alley than ball games.

DBrim
DBrim moderator

 @el serracho I like steak but it isn't doing my appetite any favors.

LA_Woman
LA_Woman

 @GoGiantsGo I don't get it. What's there to tell? Who's there to tell it to? Who cares?

 

*VND*
*VND*

you guys are telling me a lot about your medical history without meaning to. its cool. im cool. i wont say anything.

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

 @LA Woman good. i'm a tiny bit better today, but still have trouble walking across the room. shall see. 

LA_Woman
LA_Woman

 @el serracho Yep, Medrol pack? That's what I've taken. It does take a few days. My lungs wouldn't clear until around Day 7, but started the process around Day 3 or 4.

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

 @LA Woman  so far is limited results.. hoping day three is a breakthrough. is a six day pack. 

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

 @DBrim not that i'm opposed to meat, just prefer it as part of something...like a burrito. mmmmmmm burritos

DBrim
DBrim moderator

 @el serracho So they make you hungry, they make you unable to sleep, AND they make your tendons and head explode?

 

Good shit.

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

 @DBrim these steroids im on make me constantly hungry, i could murder a steak and i don't even normally like them. 

HarryDoyle
HarryDoyle

 @LA Woman   @DBrim god, you speak the truth @el serracho .  I remember a January storm when I was a kid where the rain was running in huge rivers down W Wilshire from across the intersection with our road, Marwood.  People were either like Goat and at home for the storm or just to scared to drive on the roads, so us kids were running with the rivers in the roads, joyfully throwing whatever we could pick up wherever we wanted.  

DBrim
DBrim moderator

 @el serracho  @LA Woman I remember when I was a kid we got some rains bad enough that they flooded our garage (which my dad converted into a woodshop).  Basically every piece of wood he had in there was ruined, which cost him well over a grand to replace.

 

So yeah, if it never rains, why did we have to install a sump pump? :)

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

 @LA Woman  @DBrim i always want to stay home from work and enjoy any storm we have. i love it. 

 

but i'm glad i live where i can enjoy it. 

LA_Woman
LA_Woman

 @DBrim  @el serracho That's how you tell the natives from the transplants. The natives love the rain because it is so rare and necessary (and a nice respite from the dry). The transplants believe "it never rains in So. Cal."

DBrim
DBrim moderator

 @el serracho I love it.  First of the sort in a few months (usually, the thunderstorms break up a bit before they get near the coast).

DBrim
DBrim moderator

 @el serracho The thunder and lightning outside aren't helping, either.