“El Caballo” Carlos Lee certainly didn’t want to go to Los Angeles, invoking his no-trade clause to block a deal to the Dodgers. Instead, Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow didn’t panic, and pulled off some fireworks on the 4th of July sending Lee to Miami.
Houston picked up two prospects in the deal in third baseman Matt Dominguez and left-handed pitcher Rob Rasmussen. Dominguez was immediately added to the Astros 25-man roster and was ranked as the 4th best prospect by Baseball America coming into the season. Rasmussen was 4-7 this season for AA Corpus Christi with a 3.90 ERA.
This trade also allowed for the Marlins to demote Gaby Sanchez for the second time this season. Lee will take over 1st base duties for Miami, but can also play some left field if needed. Marlins needed to acquire a bigger bat for a power position as Sanchez was hitting just .202 with three home runs in 182 AB’s for the Marlins. The 36 year-old Lee has been better for a below average Astros lineup, hitting .287 with five homers. Moving to the seemingly pitcher park in Miami, might turn Lee even more into a batting average play and suck more power out of him. Houston is great for power with their short left field porch for righties.
Lee is reunited with Ozzie Guillen, who managed him back in Chicago in 2004.
Houston doesn’t get off cheap however, as they have to pay almost all of the remaining 9 million dollars on his contract to get Lee off their roster. When you’re getting prospects in a return and a good one in Dominguez, it’s worth the risk for the Astros. Miami gets a cheap replacement to see what Lee has left in the tank to make a run in the N.L. East. If Sanchez can sort himself out in the minors, he could get another chance at the gig in 2013.
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)