Creeping Inexorably Toward A Worthwhile Sub-Heading.
Monday, January 19, 2004
It was a Deal in a Deal... Part Deux
The Cubs continued to display their organizational aversion to arbitration today by signing Derrek Lee to a one-year, $6.9M deal. This appears to be another situation, similar to Kerry Wood's, where both sides are likely to agree on a long-term deal before the start of play, but with the deadline for submitting arbitration figures looming, there was a need to buy some time and avoid the embarrassment of possible acrimony.
As for the deal itself, if this one-year deal is even close to the base salary over the life of Lee's theoretical multi-year contract, the Cubs will be getting some pretty substantial bang for their bucks. Lee played half of his games in cavernous Pro Player Stadium last year, so his .271/.379/.508 line, while being very solid, may be the worst he puts up for some time. In 2003, Lee was 12th in the Majors in road SLG (.591) and 11th in road OPS (.979) putting him ahead of names like Richie Sexson, Alex Rodriguez, Jim Thome, Todd Helton, as well as our very own Sammy Sosa, and making a pretty strong case that his home ballpark was holding his numbers down to a significant degree.
It may be too much to expect those road numbers for an entire year, but if Lee even sniffs those figures in 2004 and beyond, the Cubs will have a very productive and very valuable player on their hands, and may just have him on the cheap.