Cubs Continue Selling, Ship Derrek Lee To Braves

The Deal
Seeking punch at first base, the Braves worked out a deal to acquire seven-year Cub Derrek Lee, who waived his no-trade clause to play for a contender.

The Cubs, who in addition to Lee also have traded away Ted Lilly, Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot this summer, received a trio of minor league pitchers, headlined by low Class A righthander Robinson Lopez. The Braves also kicked in relievers Ty’Relle Harris, a righthander, and Jeff Lorick, a lefty, the club’s 19th- and 20th-round draft selections in 2009.

The Cubs kicked in $1.7 million in the deal, which is roughly half of the $3.4 million owed Lee through the end of the season, his last under contract. The dollar amount speaks to Chicago’s desire to acquire Lopez and Co.

Atlanta first-base incumbent Troy Glaus hit passably in the first half but had crashed back to earth in 102 second-half at-bats, hitting .196/.291/.304 with two home runs. The 34-year-old Lee is in the midst of his worst season in a decade, but his bat had been perking up lately and he brings a steady glove to Chicago. He’s off to a .313/.356/.583 start through 96 at-bats in the second half, during which he’s smacked six of his 16 home runs.

 
Cubs Acquire
Robinson Lopez, rhp

Age: 19.

Born: March 2, 1991 in Moca, Dominican Republic.

Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 190. Bats: R. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Signed as nondrafted free agent by Braves, Nov. 19, 2008.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Rome (SAL)

LoA 3 8

4.37

24 16

0

93

84

51

45

5

43

70

1.37

The primary target in the trade, the teenage Lopez already shows a quality fastball at 88-92 mph and low-80s changeup most times out. He tops out at 94 mph on occasion. His feel for a breaking ball is not nearly so refined, though a plus, late-breaking slider does make an appearance from time to time. Lopez began the year as one of a trio of exciting 19-year-old Latin American righthanders with Rome, though Julio Teheran and Arodys Vizcaino earned quick promotions to high Class A. To help offset their losses, the Braves recently promoted 18-year-old lefty Carlos Perez from Rookie-level Danville.

 
Ty’Relle Harris, rhp

Age: 23.

Born: Dec. 12, 1986 in Compton, Calif.

Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 235. Bats: R. Throws: R.

School: Tennessee.

Career Transactions: Selected by Braves in 19th round of 2009 draft; signed June 12, 2009.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Rome (SAL)

LoA 0

0

2.53

9

0

4

11

9

3

3

0

4

12

1.22

Myrtle Beach (CAR)

HiA 1 2

3.71

17

0

1

27

23

11

11

0

12

37

1.31

Mississippi (SL)

AA 0

0

1.46

4

1

1

12

6

3

2

0

6

11

0.97

Total 1

2 2.90

30

1

6

50

38

17

16

0

22

60

1.21

Harris earns praise for his physicality and competitiveness, but his stuff is a bit short to assure him of big league time. If he’s to make it, he’ll have to earn it. Harris pitches at 89-92 mph with an average fastball and fringy breaking stuff. His decent changeup gives him a shot at a low-leverage relief role.

 
Jeff Lorick, lhp

Age: 22.

Born: Dec. 18, 1987 in Duluth, Ga.

Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 195. Bats: L. Throws: L.

School: Virginia.

Career Transactions: Selected by Braves in 20th round of 2009 draft; signed June 11, 2009.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Rome (SAL)

LoA 3

6

2.32

26

4

4

50

42

25

13

2

21

41

1.25

Myrtle Beach (CAR) HiA 0 0

0.00

1

0

0

2

1

0

0

0

0

2

0.50

Total 3 6 2.24 27 4 4 52 43 25 13 2 21 43 1.22

Lefthanded batters in the South Atlantic League must have been eager to say goodbye to Lorick, who limited same-siders to a .128/.222/.170 batting line. That’s 6-for-47 with two doubles, six walks and 18 strikeouts. Lorick owes his success to a firm low-90s fastball and a hard slider, two weapons that could keep him in the Cubs’ picture for years as a potential situational lefty or even set-up reliever.

 
Braves Acquire
Derrek Lee, 1b

Age: 34. Bats: R. Remaining Commitment: Under contract for $13 million this season, as part of 5-year, $65 million deal signed with Cubs in April ’06.

Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Club (League) YEAR AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
Chicago (NL) 2008 .291 155 623 93 181 41 3 20 90 71 119 8 .361 .462
Chicago (NL) 2009 .306 141 532 91 163 36 2 35 111 76 109 1 .393 .579
Chicago (NL) 2010 .251 109 418 63 105 21 0 16 56 52 101 1 .335 .416
3-Year Totals .285 405 1573 247 449 98 5 71 257 199 329 10 .365 .490

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