Could Carlos Lee Be an Atlanta Braves Trade Target?

Benjamin upchurchContributor IIDecember 8, 2009

PHOENIX - AUGUST 30:  Carlos Lee #45 of the Houston Astros prepares to bat against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the major league baseball game at Chase Field on August 30, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Astros 4-3.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Braves have probably the deepest pitching staff in baseball. With six solid starters, two solid setup men, and two closers, Frank Wren has plenty of pieces to play with.

The Braves could easily use any of this to trade for a bat that they need.

Carlos Lee is everything the Braves would need in a big RBI-producing bat. .300/26/102 are numbers that the Braves would love to have on the roster. An .847 lifetime OPS and not a single 100-strikeout season give the impression of a patient bat.

Add in his reputation for getting the key hits, and that puts him as one of the top hitters in the game right now. Placing him around Chipper Jones and Brian McCann would solidify a core offense for 2010.

Lee is not known for his defensive skills. In 2009 he had the lowest range factor for left fielders. Given his offensive abilities, you can easily overlook any weaknesses he presents in left field. I'm sure it would be no worse than Garret Anderson in 2009.

The biggest problem comes from his salary. He still has four years left on a six-year, $100 million contract. By the time the contract is up he will be 38. With Jair Jurrjens and Javier Vazquez on the block in 2011, I do not know if Wren would be willing to tie down such a significant chunk of his future salary.

I propose that this trade would offset any of Lee's down points.

Braves: Rafael Soriano/Derek Lowe

Astros: Lee

I will assume there would be additional prospects on both sides of the house. Regardless of that, I believe these three key personnel would be a solid foundation for a mutually beneficial trade.