HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 28: Carlos Lee #45 of the Houston Astros hits a line drive to center in the seventh inning to break up a no hitter by pitcher Andrew Cashner #34 of the San Diego Padres at Minute Maid Park on June 28, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Could the Dodgers swing a deal to land the veteran first baseman?
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros have been hammering out the final details of a deal that would send Carlos Lee to L.A. in exchange for cash and possibly a prospect or two, according to multiple reports. The Dodgers are desperate to add offense to their lineup with both Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier injured, and James Loney's lack of production is also a legitimate concern.
As for the Astros, they are a team under new management and would love to do nothing more than rid themselves of Lee's contract. The 36-year-old first baseman is set to earn $18.5M in 2012, and it appears the Dodgers would be willing to take on most of that salary should a deal be completed.
Here's Jon Heyman with the latest news as of Saturday:
The Astros "will do cartwheels'' if Carlos Lee accepts a trade to the Dodgers, one person familiar with their thinking said.
It isn't known whether an exchange of players between the teams has been agreed upon yet, but that part shouldn't be the hard part since the Astros want to deal Lee, who's worth far less than his $18.5-million contract now. The difficult part, folks agree, will be getting the approval of Lee, who has the right to veto trades to 14 of 29 other teams, including the Dodgers.
Lee was said to be reluctant to waive his veto power this winter when the Astros were shopping him. He has a profitable cattle farm in the Houston area, which is one of the reasons he rebuffed a bigger deal from the Giants to sign a $100-million, six-year Astros contract.
In any deal, the Astros would be expected to pay the majority of the $10 million or so that remains on Lee's $18.5-million salary. The Dodgers, under new rich ownership, would prefer to pay money than surrender prospects.
It makes sense for both parties involved to complete the deal; money really isn't much of an issue for L.A. anymore, while Houston would love to start the rebuilding process without their expensive, clunky first baseman in the mix. The part about Lee's no-trade clause is a bit concerning, and the Dodgers will be out of luck should he elect to exercise it.
In 2012, Lee is batting .290/.342/.412 with five homers and 29 runs driven in. His defense has been anywhere from below average to awful the las few seasons, and he cannot run the bases anymore due to his size and aging knees.
More to come throughout the day as talks continue to heat up.
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