Goatriders of the Apocalypse

In defense of Derrek Lee

From the comments section:

If Lee hits around .700-.750 OPS all year, he will have little interest with his age and injury history. Sure, he might have been one of the best over his prime, but his prime was a long time ago now…

This was in response to my suggesting trading Derrek Lee wasn't a good idea because if the Cubs are smart, they offer him arbitration and take the two high draft picks that come with his being signed in the offseason.

The commenter is very angry about the Cubs right now. That is obvious based on all of his comments all over this site and others I am sure. But Lee is not a .700-.750 OPSing 1B. If he is, the Cubs shouldn't offer him arbitration. I think the Cubs should offer him arbitration because having him back for one year at the 10-12 Million area wouldn't hurt the team.

Just for perspective on his numbers right now:

2009: May 16: .195ba/.615 OPS
2010: May 16: .230ba/.690OPS

Lee's final numbers in 2009: .306/.393/.579

Yep, he's done. </sarc>

Boy, you love taking snippets

Boy, you love taking snippets of things out of context and try to go off on optimistic tangent, don't you?

First, am I very angry about the club, or a realist? Or maybe a better question is this; do you say that because I meet your "the peripherals say we are good" stuff with the fact they don't? Or is it even just a struggle within yourself, because you clearly refuse to believe the team bites?

Second, why did my "if" statement with a bunch of factors become your "is" argument focusing on merely one extremely minor portion of it?

And third, onto your stats:
Last year Lee had a .170 ISO to go with the .253 BAbip line
This year Lee has a .122 ISO to go with the .264 BAbip line

Notice anything there?

But beyond that no where did I say Lee is done. What I did in the face of your "If the Cubs were smart and offered him arbitration" quote is mentioned that many other aspects exist and we have to leave ourselves open to the fact he very well could be - where there are much, much, much better odds of him being done then the 85+ Wins you are still somehow projecting for the club. If Lee were getting close to being done, it would match what history has told us to expect from 34-36 year old players. If we win 85+ though; well, it will border on a miracle...

I don't believe

I don't believe I took your quote out of context. I dealt with the first base free agent market post 2010 earlier. Derrek Lee may be the best of the bunch. He isn't going into free agency against Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez or Albert Pujols.

Instead, the players out there on the market include Carlos Pena, Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn. I happen to like Dunn and wouldn't be upset if the Cubs signed him but if Lee can get anywhere near the mid .800's OPS that I think he can, his defense would make him probably the most sought after out of that group by teams that need first basemen. I think he will likely end up in San Francisco if he'd like to test the market.

If he doesn't want to test the market, I think coming back to the Cubs on a year deal after accepting arbitration would be fine. I don't think we would be risking anything by offering it.

Of course, I agree that if he completely tanks and puts up Casey Kotchman numbers, the Cubs should not offer him arbitration but I doubt that will happen.

As for the rest of your nasty post. Look, I am not happy that the Cubs haven't been winning. I believe they have a better team than this. I believed it before the season. I think if we win 95+, it will border on a miracle but 85+ is possible. I tried to show you that but you're pissed about the team and not being realistic IMO. Rather you're letting your emotions and some random other site that is just looking at what they projected before the season started and where the Cubs/Cardinals and whoever are now and coming up with a projected record.

The Cubs have outplayed the Cardinals this year. It hasn't shown up on the scoreboard yet which sucks big time, but you ignore it. It's fine. I know I'm right.

Go Cubs! Apparently, I'm the only one who believes that!

"I don't believe I took your

"I don't believe I took your quote out of context."

Alrighty, lets see... My post was about:

Arbitration meaning he would make ~13 million from the Cubs when players like LaRoche (.843 OPS) struggled to get 1 year and 5 million.

Lee saying he isn't wanting to leave the Cubs

Current obligations to players which likely already has our payroll in the 130 range before replacing Lilly or Lee

A ton of 1B on the market, which means less demand. Lee cant expect the 13 MM the Cubs would have to give him if he hits the market if players like LaRoche will be lucky to get 7.

Age and injury history - you know, the fact that countless hitters have fallen off at the age 34/35 range (where Lee is) and that teams will think about things like heath history when signing a guy.

and of course, the fact that "so far" he is struggling and "if" it continues...

Your reply? 100% acting as if I was claiming he was done and giving bullshit "" type shit! Yeah, you took the absolute least important part of what my posts were about and tried to make it into something I wasnt saying while acting like an ass. But you're probably right, clearly you were covering my statement perfectly there...

...
"As for the rest of your nasty post. Look, I am not happy that the Cubs haven't been winning."

Yet you feel the need to come on here and shoot down anything anyone says that is in the realm of "we are playing crappy"?

"I tried to show you that but you're pissed about the team and not being realistic IMO. Rather you're letting your emotions and some random other site that is just looking at what they projected before the season started and where the Cubs/Cardinals and whoever are now and coming up with a projected record."

and okay, this will take a couple parts:

1st, I am pissed about the "team", and not the fact that you took something I didn't say and tried to make an sarcastic and asinine point about it? Got it!

2nd, I am saying we can probably expect to go about .528 W% and end with a .500 record overall - so I'm being unrealistic... Got it!

3rd, "some random site", meaning the one you got the stats from and are are hanging your argument on, right? Got it...

4th, "projected before the season started" - meaning you apparently ignored the part where I said "through today". Oh yeah, its not pre-season rankings - its based off the advanced stats they have provided to this specific point in time. Its 100% your argument proving you wrong, and I guess I am wrong in using it... Got it!

5th, Cubs - allowed 5.00 per, scored 4.59 per. Cards - allowed 3.43, scored 4.27. Yeah, I'm sure glad we aren't the team scoring more then we allowed! Because we all know, want to win games - allow more runs then you score. Right? Got it...

Look, you want to be optimistic, that's fine - and I've told you as much multiple times! But the issue comes from your saying whatever random thing you can come up with to try and dismiss the people who are watching the games and realizing this isn't a championship club on pace for the playoffs. And really, why is that so wrong to say? Or to put it another way, why can't someone say it without you having to give some "well we will win 85, and we might win" nonsense?

And that's the thing; its nonsense! In continuing to say it you seem to be completely ignoring what you are actually saying. That is, the "we can take the Cards" cheer-leading stuff. Because take a look at the numbers again (updated for today):

Cubs - currently 16-22, need to go 69-55 (.556) to finish at 85 Wins
Cards - currently 21-16, need to go 63-61 (.508) to finish at 84 Wins

Jeez, wonder if that is why BP gives the Cubs less then a 8% chance of winning the division (again, based off our current advanced rates)

So in your scenario all StL really needs to do is go 500 while we simultaneously become one of the hottest teams in the game from here on out - a feet we will accomplish as we prepare to face a team finishing 2009 over 500 for the first time tomorrow. I can only ask, are you so blinded by your denial that you cant see how unrealistic your stance is?

I won't respond to most

of this rant because it's not worth it but I will respond to your seeming point about the glut of first basemen in the upcoming free agent market and how Adam LaRoche is similar to Derrek Lee.

I dealt with all of this previously but let me rehash this once more. There are four top flight first baseman in the upcoming market. They are good players but none of them are MVP type candidates. The guys like Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez and Albert Pujols are not free agents this particular year.

Here are the four top players at that position:

1) Adam Dunn: Established wOBA .390. Good player who is underrated because he does certain things well (Draws Walks, Hits Homers) but others not so well (Plays Poor Defense, No Baserunning Skill, Strikes out so much his BA is low). Dunn is probably the most valuable player on the market but the last time he hit the market, he only got 2 years and 20 Million.

2) Carlos Pena: Established wOBA .370. Very susceptible to slumps IMO. Similar to Dunn offensively but not as good. Pretty good on defense. Probably going to be seeking a fairly large contract. $16 Million+ per year is likely.

3) Paul Konerko: Established wOBA .360. Currently having a pretty good year which may drive up his price. Very slow lumbering right handed hitter with little defensive value.

4) Derrek Lee: Established wOBA .370. Very solid defensive player and you know the rest.

Of this group, Lee is the best defensively by far and only Dunn has an established edge offensively (and it may not be appreciated by most baseball GMs). Lee is very likely to find a market for him.

OTOH, Andy LaRoche is a step below these players. His established wOBA is in the .350's and he is also perceived as a worse player on top of it. Personally, I wouldn't mind signing him to an $8 Million contract for one year when Lee leaves but the idea that Lee wouldn't be able to find work is just incorrect in my opinion. If Lee produces a wOBA of .360 or better this season, the Cubs would be stupid not to offer him arbitration.

Okay, so that was a fun

Okay, so that was a fun exercise in irrelevance… But now we need to ask the important questions you just keep ignoring and changing the subject on; where is the part where you explained

1) how Lee will make 13+ million on the market (which is what the Cubs would pay in arbitration when he accepts the offer)

2) how he walks away from the team he said he wants to play for, denying the 13+ million contract they would be forced to give him

3) how Ricketts said we would be raising payroll in order to retain a 13+ million 1B

4) how 4+ arguably similar guys (you ignored Berkman) and many slightly lesser players plus two superior players possibly available in trade (all to fill holes on about 3 competing teams) means higher demand for Lee resulting in what would be the 4th highest AAV off the free agent market last season and about the 6th highest salary as far as 1B

5) how teams generally ignore age and injury history and sign 35 year olds with an average of 131 games the last 5 years to 13+ million deals.

See, that’s the stuff you are continually just ignoring completely. But that’s also the important stuff, and how you personally think he ranks compared to a couple others means basically squat. Afterall, I could have given a pretty dang good argument for Dye being better then Huff but when all is said and done only one has a job and neither was offered arbitration...

...
Oh, and by the way, a "rant" is the pitiful move you pulled when you initially ignored everything I had stated, nitpicked and twisted one minor aspect claiming it was something I wasn't actually saying, took personal shots and made sarcastic remarks all to... well who the hell knows why you did it; apparently you just like to be a condescending, argumentative bitch because that's the only reason I can come up with...

okk you want to keep this up

Let's go:

1) Lee will make around 10-13 million, that much I agree. I don't necessarily think it will be with the Cubs. If he does re-sign back with the Cubs at something close to that rate for one year, that would be fine. Having a .370 wOBA first baseman is an asset. I don't think the Cubs should offer him arbitration if they don't want him back.

2) Players ALWAYS say they want to stay with the team they are currently on. That isn't news. It's only news when they say they don't want to stay with the team they are currently on (See Manny Ramirez). If Lee is offered more than 1 year at close to the same general salary, he will walk. It'd be nice if he returned to the Cubs, but if he does he leave, the Cubs have to collect the draft picks, end of story.

3) When did Ricketts say that? I'm suggesting that at worse, the Cubs pay him the same. Since Lilly will be leaving, I'm quite certain the Cubs payroll goes down this season. I doubt the Cubs bring in another 12 Million player to replace Lilly (though I'm in favor of offering him arbitration also)

4) Hey, if he decides to come back, so be it. He's good. Apparently better than you think.

5) He only has the average of 131 games because he missed most of one season with a wrist injury. He has played over 150 games 4 out of 6 times he's been with the team. He's durable as players like that go.

And don't be a jerk. I understand all of this. I also understand that the Cubs probably won't get a better first baseman than Lee for 2011 anyway. I am ok with this if he decides to leave but for one year in 2011, the Cubs need to have a good player at first base. If he stays, I probably would be opposed to offering him arbitration after 2011 depending on his performance plus the availability of Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder and even Albert Pujols.

Oh and btw, about Berkman. When I originally started thinking about it, I figured the Astros would pick up his option. I'm not so sure now but I still think they probably will. The Astros do odd things. Sometimes you act like I don't know these things, it's funny to me. Ah well.

P.S.-It is very doubtful that the Cubs are going to significantly cut salary in the next couple of years. The Ricketts may lose some money in the short term in that deal but they'd lose a ton of good will if they cut salary in the long run with the average Chicago Cub fan. I just don't see them doing that. The Cubs will maintain around a 140+ Million team salary. According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, they are currently at $144,359,000. I doubt they drop below 135 this coming year. With $25 Million coming off the books potentially in Lilly and Lee, they can afford to bring back Lee if he accepts arbitration. If Lee wOBA's over .360, it's a no brainer. Sorry. I just disagree with you.

"okk you want to keep this

"okk you want to keep this up"

No, I never wanted any of this... What it is, is you decided to start an argument off shit that was never the conversation, ignoring everything said, in your attempt to act like a bitch. I was continuing to point out all the crap you blatantly ignored and again stated how the argument you were trying to hold is a manufactured bullshit rant you pulled out of your ass in an attempt to act like a pretentious jerk.

But to the bullets:

to #1 - "I don't necessarily think it will be with the Cubs."
If the Cubs offer arbitration he will win a case that will pay him 13 million or more. So if you agree he would be hard pressed to make that on the market, why would he ever turn it down?

to #2 - "Players ALWAYS say they want to stay with the team they are currently on."
- and correct me if I'm wrong, but some mean it... But the real question is, how many say it then turn down more money just to go to a random other club? Because that is what Lee would be doing

to #3 - "When did Ricketts say that?"
- I dont know, I'm asking you! Because really, payroll would pretty much need to increase if we added a BP arm or two plus replaced our best starter the last 3 seasons with someone even respectable, plus brought back Lee at 13+ million, plus faced the 9 arbitration cases we have, plus paid the roughly 105 in commitments to 9 players

to #4 - "Hey, if he decides to come back, so be it."
- so you endorse overspending for production? Because its not a matter of if he accepts, he would almost be forced to because he wont be offered 13+ million from anyone else with such a deep market - especially with the DP that would be attached...

to #5 - "He's durable as players like that go."
- And played more then 150 only 1 time in the last 4 seasons. He has missed 40 games the last three years, and we know should have missed more. He will be 35, and already has nagging back and neck injuries. Remind me again how many 35 year olds with back concerns signed 13+ million contracts?

"And don't be a jerk"
- I hope you said that while looking in a mirror...

"I am ok with this if he decides to leave but for one year in 2011, the Cubs need to have a good player at first base"
- there are about 10 star-level 1B to choose from, most of which wont cost but 8-10 million max and result in us receiving the prospects if we were able to trade Lee (the thing which started this all). That is opposed to the 0 prospects and 13+ million cost you propose by offering him arbitration and watching him accept

Cubs declined arbitration on 28 year old Harden because he would have accepted and made about 10 million. Cubs declined arbitration to 32 year old Wood because he would have accepted and made something in the 9-10 million range. In both cases there were very few comparable alternatives available on the market. Lee will be 35, make 13+ if he accepts and there will be a huge amount of plus-first basemen available on the market to a very, very few amount of spending teams.

"Sorry. I just disagree with you."
- which is fine. What isn't fine is you taking a bitch-ass move making an idiotic post like this singling me out over shit I didn't actually say while ignoring everything I did; in your attempt to apparently cause an argument and act like a total ass. So next time you disagree, maybe "I disagree" would work better then the shit you pulled?

Hey now fellas!

Guys,

You both have great Cubbie insight. No need to take disagreements over roster moves personally. Please cut down on the name-calling and swearing, and re-focus that attention towards making cutting arguments and excellent points.

And most importantly, thank you both for your contributions to the site.

Show some respect

Sman, I appreciate your feedback on the site and your general take on things, even though I disagree with some of it.

Clearly, you and Sayers are in disagreement. No big deal. Agree to disagree, don't resort to vulgarity and name-calling.

Unlike a lot of blogging communities out there, we don't have a TOS per se, but our mantra has always been to criticize ideas, not people. Of course, that's a lot easier to say than to do, sometimes individuals with the best intentions can push our buttons and cause us to act like assholes.

So, this is the part where I ask you two to hug it out, and where I warn you to avoid the attacks in the future. If somebody has an opinion that is backed with reason and logic, even if you disagree with them, I'd hope you respect them and, at WORST agree to disagree. You're better than this behavior, Sman. Don't do it again.

"Clearly, you and Sayers are

"Clearly, you and Sayers are in disagreement. No big deal. Agree to disagree, don't resort to vulgarity and name-calling. "

Understand what you are saying, and respect it, but I see it as complete bullshit that a thread like this would even be created in the first place. Its calling me out, claiming I was saying something I didn't really ever say and acting like me and the things I did say should be dismissed even though basically my entire argument was never even attempted to be addressed.

So while no, disagreeing is not a big deal. Doing that is. This entire post is nonsense from the very start. Its basically a troll post, and fits the definition of that term extremely well. If he wanted to create a warm fuzzy "we love Lee" post, that's great and more power to him - but bringing me into it, making claims against me, being sarcastic about it and all of it while addressing everything but what I was talking about... well, yeah, he got the outcome he brought about.

Who are you that people can't

Who are you that people can't disagree with your views? Who are we that, should you express an opinion, we should bow to it and not dissent?

My advice to you is that, if you are going to express an opinion in a public forum, then you probably shouldn't get upset if you are the target of dissent. What's the point of putting your words out there if you can't handle people responding to them and possibly attempting to rip them apart?

Regardless, I don't really appreciate your apparent stance that Allen had it coming. If you can't adhere to the simple tenant of treating people -- even those you disagree with, and ESPECIALLY those who disagree with YOU -- with some semblance of respect, then please don't bother to come here. I don't think that's an unfair "rule."

"Who are you that people

"Who are you that people can't disagree with your views? Who are we that, should you express an opinion, we should bow to it and not dissent?"

He isn't arguing against, or providing my views - that is the point! He is ignoring my argument, taking my small "and what if" aspect of it and saying "this was my response when I said to offer him arbitration". Meanwhile he is providing stuff like "The commenter is very angry", "comments all over this site and others I am sure" and "Yep, he's done. /sarc"

That is the issue. If he wants to single me out not providing my argument but calling it the "response" to his stance, saying I am predicting something I am not, making random claims about me, and all the while being sarcastic about it... well...

So I can only say, had he not decided to single me out, twist my stance, disrespect me and act as if I should be dismissed with a sarcastic remark then there would have never been a problem... Or, like I said, he could have given a pro-Lee post without bring me up. Or, he could have provided my actual argument against offering Lee arbitration (the argument he initially continued to ignore in the posts as well). Or he could have just provided this post while refraining from taking jabs at me, stated my sentence was giving a hypothetical, and not provided the sarcastic aspect as if I should be dismissed. All those things would have been 100% fine. The way he chose to do it though, wasn't...

Again -- he is allowed to

Again -- he is allowed to have an opinion, it is fine if he disagrees with you, and he has provided reason and logic to support his views.

And, again. If YOU are going to voice an opinion here or anywhere, be prepared for people to single you out and rip apart your words. I realize that you are relatively new to this blog, but it isn't uncommon here -- or anywhere on the internets -- even for the writers here to post direct, contrary responses to the opinions of the OTHER writers on this blog. That's just the way it is. Thankfully, Rob has never flipped out any time I have vehemently disagreed with him, and I've never lost my cool because he disagreed with me.

Please stop trying to defend the incredibly disrespectful way that you acted. There is absolutely ZERO justification for it. Hug it out and move on.

Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award