Pirates Upgrade At First Base In Trade For Derrek Lee

The Deal
The Pirates fought to keep their unlikely playoff hopes alive by trading for 35-year-old first baseman Derrek Lee of the Orioles. They sent high Class A first baseman Aaron Baker to Baltimore, making it a low-risk venture.

Pittsburgh sat three and a half games off the pace in the National League Central, behind the Brewers and Cardinals, and they had an obvious are to upgrade: first base. Incumbent Lyle Overbay has fallen off a cliff during the past two months, batting a meager .216/.298/.309 with two homers in 49 games since June 2. While Lee’s overall production isn’t great (.706 OPS, 12 homers), his bat has begun to show signs of life in the second half. In 57 at-bats after the all-star break he batted .298/.344/.561 with three homers and four doubles.

Orioles Acquire
Aaron Baker, 1b

Age: 23. Position: 1B (99 G)

Born: Sept. 10, 1987 in Denton, Texas.

Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 220. Bats: L. Throws: R.

School: Oklahoma.

Career Transactions: Selected by Pirates in 11th round of 2009 draft; signed June 19, 2009.

Club (League) Class AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
Bradenton (FSL)

HiA .282 103 386 53 109 21 3 15 73 44 92 1 .351 .469

Baker stands out for just one tool, but his well above-average raw power from the left side of the plate may be enough to carry him to the big leagues. He generates his power more with strength than bat speed, but he does help his cause by showing selectivity at the plate. He strikes out frequently, which reduces his ability to hit for average, and he’s a below-average runner and defender at first base. Baker does have some interesting bloodlines. His grandfather Jerry Mays played in two Super Bowls and was an all-American Football League performer as an offensive and defensive lineman, and his brother Abel signed with the Angels in the seventh round this year as a catcher.

Pirates Acquire
Derrek Lee, 1b

Age: 35. Bats: R. Remaining Commitment: Approximately $2.4 million ($7.25 million salary for 2011; eligible for free agency after the season).

Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Baltimore (AL) 2011 .246 85 334 39 82 15 1 12 41 25 83 2 .302 .404
3-Year Totals .273 363 1372 204 374 84 2 63 221

171 316 4 .354 .474

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