Derrek Lee: 10 Reasons He Will Win the Braves the NL East and Beyond

Jon StarSenior Writer IAugust 18, 2010

Derrek Lee: 10 Reasons He Will Win the Braves the NL East and Beyond

0 of 10

    CHICAGO - JUNE 20: Derrek Lee #25 of the Chicago Cubs hits the ball against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Wrigley Field on June 20, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Angels 12-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Just because it is after July 31st does not mean that trades are prevented from going down. The Chicago Cubs and the Atlanta Braves are showing that by pulling off a deal that will send Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee to Atlanta.

    It is a significant move for the Braves who lost Chipper Jones for the season due to an ACL injury and are without a corner infielder.

    The deal is not yet finalized, but expectations are that the trade will be finalized over the next 24 hours. When completed, it will be a stroke of intelligent baseball by the Braves, who need a bat for the stretch run while the Cubs begin the process of taking apart a team with highly paid veterans.

No Chipper

1 of 10

    ATLANTA - JULY 15:  Chipper Jones #10 of the Atlanta Braves against the Milwaukee Brewers at Turner Field on July 15, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    As mentioned, Chipper Jones is out for the remained of the season due to an ACL tear.  That leaves a void on the hot corner and in the lineup that needs to be filled. The Braves have won on the back of their very strong pitching, but cannot head into the postseason with a hole in the middle of the order. Lee not only plugs the hole but gives the Braves an upgrade over Jones this season.

Get Him On The Cheap

2 of 10

    ST. LOUIS - AUGUST 15: Derek Lee #25 of the Chicago Cubs rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on August 15, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Cubs beat the Cardinals 9-7.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Get
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Derrek Lee is in the final year of a five-year, $65 million contract. Combine that, with the fact that this is waiver trade, and the Braves will able to land a big bat for the final six weeks without giving up much in return. Plus, the Braves are under the thumb of Lee's contract which is a wise move for a team that is still feeling out how it wants to build its payroll in the future.

Defensive Upgrade

3 of 10

    CHICAGO - JUNE 25: Derrek Lee #25 of the Chicago Cubs awaits the pitch near first base against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on June 25, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Cubs 6-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Acquiring Lee now gives the Braves the flexibility to move Troy Glaus back across the diamond to the hot corner, or take him out of the lineup entirely, and give the infielders a boost with a sharper glove at first base. Lee is a three-time Gold Glove winner who provides a much bigger target on the bag. 

Motivation

4 of 10

    CHICAGO - JULY 16: Derrek Lee #25 of the Chicago Cubs takes a swing against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field on July 16, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Phillies 4-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    What's one way to get a player motivated? Trade him from a mediocre team to a first place, playoff contender. That is the exact scenario Lee finds himself in as he likely heads to Atlanta which currently enjoys a 2.5 game lead in the NL East compared to the Cubs 50-70 record.

Veteran Experience

5 of 10

    CHICAGO - APRIL 15: Derrek Lee of the Chicago Cubs, wearing a number 42 jersey in honor of Jackie Robinson, is greeted by teammates in the dugout after hitting a home run in the 1st inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field on April 15, 2010 i
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Braves have a number of veterans on the team including Tim Hudson and Billy Wagner, but Atlanta is otherwise a fairly young team.  Losing Chipper Jones for the rest of the season certainly doesn't help. Sure, Chipper will likely remain around the team in some fashion, but Lee provides a jolt of veteran leadership and hunger to win. That can be an invaluable quality for a young team.

Gives The Team a Jolt

6 of 10

    SEATTLE - JUNE 22:  Derrek Lee #25 of the Chicago Cubs bats against the Seattle Mariners on June 22, 2010 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    The Braves clubhouse couldn't help but feel a sense of deflation when it found out that Chipper Jones was lost for the season.

    With one swift move, the Braves front office pumped air back into that balloon thanks to the impending acquisition of Lee.  Players like to see that the organization will do whatever it takes to win now. Well, with a 2.5 game lead in mid-August in Bobby Cox's final season, the Braves pulled no punches to ensure that the Braves contend at least through the end of the regular season.

Offensive Upgrade

7 of 10

    MESA, AZ - MARCH 04:  Derrek Lee #25 of the Chicago Cubs rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of the MLB spring training game at HoHoKam Park on March 4, 2009 in Mesa, Arizona  (Photo by Chri
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Troy Glaus has simply not hit in the second half like he did in the first half and has watched his batting line fall to .243/.343/.406.

    That isn't going to get it done, especially in a lineup that needs instant offense. Meanwhile, Lee has hit roughly .300 since the start of July with six home runs and an on-base percentage pushing .380.

World Series Pedigree

8 of 10

    MESA, AZ - MARCH 04:  Derrek Lee #25 of the Chicago Cubs walks to the dugout during the MLB spring training game against the Oakland Athletics at HoHoKam Park on March 4, 2009 in Mesa, Arizona.  The Cubs defeated the A's 9-3.  (Photo by Christian Petersen
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Remember when it felt like the Braves were in the World Series every year? Well those days are long gone. It's been over a decade since Atlanta won the pennant, but now they bring in a big piece with a ring on his finger. Lee won the World Series with the Marlins in 2003 and understands what it takes for a young team to overcome odds.

Braves Are Ready For a Run

9 of 10

    ATLANTA - JULY 15:  Martin Prado #14 of the Atlanta Braves rounds third base after hitting a solo homer in the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Turner Field on July 15, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Braves recently got Martin Prado back from the disabled list. They added shortstop Alex Gonzalez at the trading deadline and their starting pitching has performed with nearly a 2.00 ERA for the last month.  The pieces are in places for a big push to the end of the regular season and Lee could be the one last catalyst to get Atlanta rolling toward its first division title since 2005.

Bobby Cox Likes His Veterans

10 of 10

    ATLANTA - JUNE 27:  Manager Bobby Cox #6 of the Atlanta Braves against the Detroit Tigers at Turner Field on June 27, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Bobby Cox has long leaned on his veterans for on the field and in the clubhouse support. When Chipper Jones went down, the long-time Braves manager lost a big part of his methodology. Enter Lee, who gives Cox a veteran presence he can work with to keep the team's singular focus and can be a guy Cox relies on during tough games down the stretch.

slash iconYour sports. Delivered.

Enjoy our content? Join our newsletter to get the latest in sports news delivered straight to your inbox!