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Cubs likely to let Derrek Lee hit the open market

Mar 1, 2010, 3:48 PM EDT

Derrek Lee is entering the final season of a five-year, $65 million contract and has made it clear that he’d like to remain with the Cubs, but Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that “there will be no negotiations this spring and probably not any during the season.”
Here’s what Lee had to say about the situation:

Am I worried about it? No. My only concern is winning baseball games. Contracts, they’ll take care of themselves. My numbers are going to dictate what kind of contract I get next year. So I figure if I just worry about playing baseball and helping my team win, all that other stuff takes care of itself.

Immediately after signing his current five-year contract Lee missed two-thirds of the 2006 season with an injury, but he’s played 446 of a possible 486 games since then while hitting .304/.384/.515 with 77 homers, 120 doubles, and 283 RBIs to go along with good defense at first base.
In fact, aside from that 2006 season Lee’s all-around value has consistently made him a top-10 first baseman for the past decade, including an MVP-caliber 2005 campaign that saw him lead the league in batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS. In other words he’s been really good.
However, he’ll also turn 35 years old this season and that fact alone makes it very risky for the Cubs to hand him a multi-year contract, particularly with an entire season left on his current deal.

  1. Jonny5 - Mar 1, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    Yeah, but how does he compare to Milton Bradley???? LOL!

  2. N - Mar 1, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    The Cubs claimed they couldn’t do much this off season because they maxed out their budget. Lee and Ted Lilly are the two biggest contracts that end after this season (Ramirez has an interesting opt out as well.) Both are in the same spot of being fan favorites who’ve been good deals for their current contracts, but aren’t exceptionally good bets to be good deals on their next contracts.
    If the Cubs are going to fix any problems with their 2010 roster in the 2011 offseason, it probably will require jettisoning one or both.

  3. Old Gator - Mar 1, 2010 at 11:47 PM

    I dunno. I’d give Lee an ILC for another hundred years. Does anyone think it’ll really make any difference? No, not until they come up with an effective weakened prion vaccine for Die Vloek van der Geitbok. I suspect we’ll have a clubhouse disinfectant that’s effective against HeLa cells first, though.

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