I hope you’re enjoying your Fourth of July festivities. MLB operations don’t shut down on the holiday, and so it was for the Astros and Marlins who just agreed to swap Carlos Lee (and cash, presumably) for prospects Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen, according to multiple reports.
The deal is of import to the Cubs for a number of reasons – none dramatic, but legitimate. For one thing, the return on Lee is pretty impressive, which is suggestive of the trade market for aging, right-handed power bats, as well as guys who’ll be free agents at the end of this year (each is relevant to the Cubs). Lee, 36, is hitting just .286/.336/.412 with a whopping five homers, and yet he netted two prospects who started the year in the Marlins’ top 10: third baseman Matt Dominguez and lefty Rob Rasmussen.
Now, to be sure, each of Dominguez and Rasmussen have probably fallen off a bit this year. Dominguez, 22, has always been thought of as a top defensive prospect, but his offensive production has really dropped at the higher levels. Rasmussen, 23, is only in High A, and is just 5’9″. He’s got a decent ERA and K/BB numbers, but nothing overwhelming, particularly for a 23-year-old at High A.
Still, it’s a pretty huge return for Lee, all things considered. Might the addition of an extra Wild Card in each league really improve the trade market for sellers? Or were the Marlins just really desperate?
In any event, Lee going to the Marlins is probably as good an outcome for the Cubs as we could hope for. Assuming he does indeed have value on the trade market, and other teams were thus interested, it’s good that he went to the Marlins – a team not connected to the Cubs in any meaningful rumors.
In other words, the market for Cubs players didn’t just shrink with this deal. That’s good.