Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

John WoelfelContributor IJuly 29, 2010

CHICAGO - JULY 03: Derrek Lee #25 of the Chicago Cubs stands and waits for a teammate to bring him his hat and glove after flying out to end an inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field on July 3, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Reds 3-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

At the risk of sounding like a real jerk if we learn later that there was some big reason that Derrek Lee rejected a trade to the Angels because of a private family matter, I’m going to question this decision now because hey, that’s what I’m not paid to do.


You would think that this would be the perfect opportunity for Lee to leave.  He’s on a bad ball club that is already out of the race.  He’s got a chance to be traded to a team that is still in contention to make the playoffs that happens to play in Southern California!


Oh, and he’s building a home in Southern California now.


So you reject the trade?  At the very worst, he goes and plays there for two months and the Angels don’t make the playoffs.  If he wants to return to Chicago and live for the freezing winter, he can.  If he’d like to stay in Southern California in his new home with his family he can do that too.  Or he can move to Japan- it doesn’t matter.


The point is, this is a win-win.  This has no bearing on the ability for Lee to remain with the Cubs next year.  Even though the Cubs most likely will be moving on from Derrek Lee as he comes to the end of his contract this season.


This is a chance for the Cubs to get a couple of pieces in return for Lee to make them a better team in the coming years.


 I know Lee has the right to block any trade, but I’m a fan and also have the right to be ticked about it.


He can’t use the excuse that he wants to “stay in Chicago” because in the end, he won’t be.  He has two months left on his contract and then he is most likely done as a Chicago Cub unless he wants to play for about $5 million a year next year.


Here’s what Lee said about his decision:

''It was tempting,'' he said. ''A lot of thought went into it. ... But you're not the only one moving. It affects other people in your life. You have to discuss it with [family] and take all that into consideration.''

Ah, but that’s just it Derrek.  You don’t need to move yet.  It’s two months.  The chances are you’ll be moving after the season anyway.  It’s not as if you have two more years on your contract and need to decide now if you want to pick up and move to Southern California for the next two seasons (though why wouldn’t you?). 


The Cubs are kind of in a bind right now.  They had a chance to move Lee and get some prospects in return.  The offer must have been something that would have helped the Cubs because Hendry obviously was ready to pull the trigger on the deal. 


It looks like Lilly will be traded at some point, though the demand seems to have diminished.  It’s unlikely that the Cubs will get a whole lot of value in return for Lilly.  And of all the players the Cubs could deal, Lilly is the guy they’d like to keep beyond this year the most.  The problem with trading Lilly and then trying to sign him after this year is that if he is offered arbitration by his new team, the Cubs would have to give up two draft picks to sign him as he will most likely be a Type-A free agent. 


So if the Cubs don’t get much offered in return for Lilly, they may be better off keeping him if they want to re-sign him this offseason.


The Cubs continue to try and move Kosuke Fukudome and appear to even be willing to pick up most of his remaining salary.  With the rise of Tyler Colvin, there is really no reason for Fukudome to be in the lineup. 


Speaking of no reason to be in the lineup, I would just like to throw in the names Xavier Nady and Koyie Hill.


Anyway, back to Lee.  Lee has given the Chicago Cubs some really great years.  He’s been a fan favorite.  He played an integral part in getting the Cubs to the playoffs in 2007 and 2008.  But it’s time to move on. 


This situation is like the Seinfeld where George tries to break up with his girlfriend but she won’t let him. 


Derrek, it’s been a great run.  We’ve had a lot of great times together.  It’s time we see other people.




Alright, see you tomorrow.  Yeah, 1:20 is good for us.


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