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  1. I think it’s speculation at this point. Cafardo said the Astros will “likely” move Lee to first base, which in context looks like he’s referring to the fact that Lee is currently getting more starts there than Brett Wallace.

    My assumption is that Brett Wallace will be given every opportunity to win the job in spring training.

    Comment by OremLK — September 27, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

  2. Another thing to consider is that the Astros don’t have any MLB-ready outfield prospects the caliber of Brett Wallace at first base. There is some depth, but they all look like replacement level to 1 win players. Perhaps J.D. Martinez could be better than that, but there is very little chance that he will be ready for the majors out of spring training.

    Comment by OremLK — September 27, 2010 @ 9:39 pm

  3. Whenever I see a babip at .238 like Lee’s I always wonder what his xBabip is. Where can one find that data. It does not appear that Fangraphs carries that important stat.
    vr, Xei

    Comment by Xeifrank — September 27, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

  4. Lee’s footspeed is almost preternaturally slow. I’m sure there has been some luck involved in his low BABIP this year, but I suspect his time to first base is down. Also his bat speed (less hard contact).

    Comment by OremLK — September 27, 2010 @ 10:35 pm

  5. Moving him kinda makes that Brett Wallace trade look a bit stupid. They could have used Gose to get another prospect or perhaps forced the Phillies to give up something else (Gose was only targeted because Wade knew the Jays wanted him in the first place).

    Ed Wade and long-term plans…yeah.

    Comment by NEPP — September 28, 2010 @ 9:18 am

  6. Sometimes BABIP drops are luck and sometimes a guy just gets old fast (ie the bat speed/foot speed issues). Its impossible to tell without more data (another year or two)

    Comment by NEPP — September 28, 2010 @ 9:19 am

  7. This is kind of a silly criticism. For one thing, at the time Wade couldn’t have known Wallace would struggle this much. But beyond that, Wallace doesn’t have to spend the next year or two in the majors to be valuable in the long term. Even if (god forbid) Carlos Lee plays first base through the next two full seasons, after which his contract ends, Wallace could still slide in at that point, and would only be 26. In fact, if that did happen, the Astros would have him under cheap team control through his prime as a hitter.

    Comment by OremLK — September 28, 2010 @ 11:03 am

  8. Well there was plenty of speculation before the trade that Wallace would be a well below average MLB 1B over the next couple years. So it wasn’t exactly unforeseeable.

    The Astros don’t technically have to move Lee to 1B/steal Brett Wallace’s job to prove their point. All they have to do is have him split time in Spring Training and demonstrate some aptitude for the position. Scouts will be there to pick up the rest. At this point the Astros are merely looking to scrape as much cash back from Lee as possible. That might be best achieved by cutting him, but as someone pointed out, it’s not like the ‘Stros have any particularly relevant players waiting to take reps at LF or 1B. My prescription would be to load up on former stud prospects of the Jayson Werth/Jay Gibbons/Rocco Baldelli ilk and hope to strike gold.

    Comment by Brad Johnson — September 28, 2010 @ 11:13 am

  9. “That might be best achieved by cutting him”

    Should read – That might be most painlessly achieved…

    Obviously they’re going to get a little more cash back if they make a trade, but Wade’s time might be better spent courting those bounceback, strong pedigree veterans I mentioned.

    Comment by Brad Johnson — September 28, 2010 @ 11:20 am

  10. Check out his hit distribution rates?

    Very roughly, I use xBABIP = .75*LD% + .25*GB% + .15*(N-IF)FB% + .01*(IF)FB%, so Lee’s 15.4% LD%, 38.6% GB%, 40.3% (N-IF)FB%, and 5.7 (IF)FB% mean that his xBABIP is approximately .274.

    So there is plenty of simple bad luck going on here, despite his LD% dropping.

    Comment by Dan — September 28, 2010 @ 11:23 am

  11. With a simple xBABIP calc, I’m guessing .238 is within about 2 SD of .274. If so, we can’t conclude bad luck.

    Comment by Brad Johnson — September 28, 2010 @ 11:39 am

  12. It wasn’t foreseeable that he’d start out THIS bad. Most thought he’d be above replacement level to start out, at least, and about average in the long term.

    I agree with your other point though.

    Comment by OremLK — September 28, 2010 @ 11:52 am

  13. However, if you think owner Drayton McLane is going to let Wade cut Carlos Lee, you’re probably mistaken. I think Lee should be released, but it probably won’t happen.

    Comment by OremLK — September 28, 2010 @ 11:53 am

  14. Lee needs to be moved regardless of whether or not Brett Wallace is legit. Lee is probably the worst defensive LF in baseball by a very large margin.

    It has nothing to do with Wallace’s struggles. They were talking about moving Lee to 1B before the trade.

    Comment by NEPP — September 28, 2010 @ 11:54 am

  15. Hey, Orem. My only beef would be sacrificing Wallace’s major league development time. Yeah, he’d still be just 26 in your scenario, but I’d rather he had two years of regular PAs facing major league pitching.

    Comment by blackout — September 28, 2010 @ 12:11 pm

  16. ’tis a shame. Drayton is a businessman, I would have thought he understood the concept of sunk cost.

    It would be as painful as the amount of money the Dodgers spent on Andruw Jones or Jason Schmidt, but I’m not sure what the highest amount that has been left on a contract when being released. Is their a higher example than Russ Ortiz’s $22m when he was cut by Arizona?

    Comment by JP — September 28, 2010 @ 12:13 pm

  17. I definitely agree with that blackout. As an Astros fan, it’s very irritating watching Lee sap Wallace’s playing time. I’m just saying that moving Lee to first base doesn’t make the acquisition of Wallace a poor long term decision regardless.

    Comment by OremLK — September 28, 2010 @ 12:17 pm

  18. “nobody’s going to give up prospects or take on salary to add a first baseman with a sub-.300 on-base percentage.”

    You clearly underestimate Dayton “I traded for Mike Jacobs, who the hell is Kila?” Moore .

    Comment by Jeffrey Gross — September 28, 2010 @ 2:00 pm

  19. Well … I know it’s just 180 or so at-bats, but Kila’s OBP is currently below .300 as well. (Yes, I know about his minor league numbers.)

    Comment by WY — September 28, 2010 @ 2:09 pm

  20. This move has the fingerprints of Drayton McClane’s Svengali Tal Smith all over it, not Ed Wade. If anything, Wade has seemed to push the younger players over the vets. Smith is the one who pushed the stupid Lee signing to begin with, which predates Wade by years. Also, due to contract issues, the Lee trade has to happen this winter. Pretty sure his no-trade expires (another bit of brilliance by Tal), but he’s a a 10-5 after this year, so moving him around in the lineup to try to trade him next year seems particularly futile.

    Comment by Don Mynack — September 28, 2010 @ 5:32 pm

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