Trade Season Underway: Carlos Lee to the Marlins for a Couple Prospects

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.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

51 responses to “Trade Season Underway: Carlos Lee to the Marlins for a Couple Prospects”

  1. @cubsfantroy

    So he don’t want to go to LA where he has a chance to make the playoffs and possibly the WS, yet goes to the Marlins? Does Ozzie have something on him?

    1. North Side Irish

      Dodgers were on his No Trade List…Marlins weren’t. He signed away his 10 and 5 rights, so he didn’t have the option to decline this trade.

      1. @cubsfantroy

        Ah crap, I forgot about him signing away his 10/5 rights. My bad.

  2. lou brock lives

    Garza & W. Castillo to BoSox for RHP Barnes, 3B / OF Travis Shaw, & C Lavarnway then trade Dempster & A. Kirk to Reds for LHP Cingrani – Reds not happy with Leake – Then trade Maholm & LaHair to Dodgers for LHP Chris Reed. We get 3 possible top of rotation future starters & a starting catcher & LH hitting 3B or LF. Brett your thoughts ?

    1. Patrick G

      Honestly think you could get more from Boston for Gaza/Castillo

  3. Cubs fan 4748475

    Does the Carlos Lee trade impact a trade possibility for Lahair? Now we could possibly package Dempster and Lahair to the Dodgers? Does the package of prospects Carlos Lee reflect the package of prospects for Lahair possibly?

  4. josh

    This could be huge for a lahair deal, he makes the minimum right now and has years of club control over him. and right now he’s probably just as valuable to a team as Lee would be so the price on him just went up for sure, dominguez is probably a 7-12 prospect in most teams farm system.

  5. TakingWrigleyToSaoPaulo

    I think they traded Lee out a little out of spite. They knew there weren’t going to be a lot of buyers on Lee and the Dodgers haul was much better. They just said, “well you’re going to do us like that Carlos… no more cattle ranching for you in Huston until the off season”

    Brain LaHair, given his age, control and power potential is a WAY more attractive player for most teams I would think.

    1. Luke

      Eh.  There are some huge ranches in Central Florida.  He could always buy another one.

  6. Jp

    Im dreaming right now of a 2-3 4RBI all star night by Lahair with him getting the go ahead homer in the 9th. It could happen…??? Unless SVeum and jeff Baker crash the party.

    1. Jonski

      Im thinking more like 0-3 3k’s and 1 walk for Ludwick I mean LaHair.

    2. TakingWrigleyToSaoPaulo

      Looking like a solid prediction…

  7. Cubs Dude

    I think Soriano has a stigma (for whatever reason) as being an absolute garbage player throughout mlb and fans. He has clearly been a lot better than Lee this year, but people still just want no part of him. This whole thing is pretty frustrating, because I sure as hell want him off them team yesterday. But I think Sori is widely considered a losing type player, that won’t come thru in the clutch. Right or wrong… I am not trying to hate, because he has had a nice turn around this year, but man I’m over that dude.

  8. Cubs fan 4748475

    Who is a more highly thought of prospect? Josh Vitters or Matt Dominguez? Ok so before you answer lets take off our homer caps? Yes Dominguez is having an awful year at AAA but it could be just a bad year, I mean thats what a lot of cubs fans r saying about Brett Jackson to be fair. Dominguez cam in to thee year being ranked the 78th best player in baseball and Vitters wasn’t anywhere near there. I know Vitters is doing well now but is this just a hot streak or is this legit and he will he come back down to what he use to be? I’m just worried hes in the zone and he will back into his bad funk. I know Vitters is having a better year but who is overall better prospect?

    1. TakingWrigleyToSaoPaulo

      The problem with Dominguez is he has not hit at any level of pro ball. Not sure why he kept getting promoted. The numbers are ugly.

    2. Scotti

      After removing my homer hat, Vitters is unquestionably the better prospect (by far). Dominguez isn’t having a bad year–he’s having a bad four years. He’s batted, successively, .247, .252, .249 and .234. He’s a career .252 hitter after one very good year in the Sally in 2008. And, according to Baseball Reference, he wasn’t rated #78 going into this season but, rather, #81 going into last year. Going into this year he was dropped off like Vitters. Both are 22-y/o in AAA. Vitters is mashing and Dominguez is mushing. After the year is over Vitters will likely again be ranked in the top 100 (for the fourth time) a Dominguez will not.

      To be fair, if Brett Jackson (who still has his OPS above .800 in AAA and was rated the #32 prospect going into 2012) had the last four years that Dominguez has had we wouldn’t even be talking about him. Yes, Dominguez has been young for his league. Yes, he’s a better defender than Vitters. But, at some point, you have to hit. For his career Vitters is over .300 at three levels (Low A, A and AAA). Dominguez is .296 in A ball and his second highest is .258. That’s how you get traded for Carlos Lee.

      In terms of Vitters going back to “what he used to be…” Vitters used to dominate his leagues–often only for a few months and then get promoted and struggle at first. As long as the Cubs leave him to learn his craft in AAA for a full season I don’t see him sliding back. I do see him as being a bat that can hit for average and much better power than most see. In a full season of MLB in his prime I can easily see him hitting north of 30 HR. He hits some monster HRs and his stroke is an extra base stroke.

      1. MoneyBoy

        Scotti … Those are some very interesting points you raise.  I wonder if some of it doesn’t have to do with the new regime.  Hendry may well have felt some pressure to move prospects along more quickly.  EH&Co appear to be completely the opposite … as in “give the kid 500 ABs at ___ level and let’s see.”

        Sure, there are always exceptions … but Vitters seems to need to continue to improve in the field more than he does at the plate.  Or, at least, continue to progress as a hitter!!

        On a whole ‘nother topic, LaHair with a 400 ft bomb to RF and RizzOMG with a line drive to RF after his bomb to left center last night!!   Holy fireworks, Batman!!  A Jeff Baker pinch hit HR … and Carlos lookin’ like a closer?  Heat stroke or not, it’s a beautiful thing.

        1. Scotti

          Money, I think Hendry was held accountable for on-field production (obviously) and Theo isn’t (again, obviously). Last year Jed rushed Rizzo. I’d guess you’d see the same in Boston w/ Theo if you looked back. Hold a guy accountable for production and he’s more tempted to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. Give a guy all the time in the world and he’s more likely to try to breed more golden egg laying geese.

  9. Jp

    Can we use a DH for Doming. With Vitters Hitting for him? I’d take Vitters either way, we can’t have stick impaired people at 2nd and 3rd forever

  10. Kevin

    Alfonzo Soriano
    Salary $18M
    Avg. .269
    HR 15
    RBI 46

    Alex Rodriguez
    Salary $30M
    Avg. .262
    HR 13
    RBI 35

    Tell me who is worth more!

    1. Cubs Dude

      Arod’s contract is ridiculously bad. It’s too bad that teams don’t have a void in contracts if players test positive for PED’s. They always fall way off when they get off the enhancers. You guys can juice all you want, but if you get caught your contract is done. . But people thing Sori sucks complete a$$ regardless of his numbers. Anyone that I have talked to that likes another team thinks Sori is a complete joke. I am not a fan of Sori’s in the slightest, but think he could have some really good value for a playoff team. I just don’t see the Cubs getting anything significant for him because of what other people think of him.

  11. Jp

    I like where your head is at Kevin but unfortunately by that rational the Yankees may straight swap ARod for Lahair because he’s been as good or better. Im with you though that Sory Is a bit undervalued since he can basically be had for peanuts

  12. Kevin

    It’s quite obvious both clubs overpaid for their players, I think we can all agree on that.
    What bothers me is people giving Sori a rough time. Yes he is overpaid! Yes he’s.not as fast as he once was! But………. His 2012 numbers are not so bad and his fielding has greatly improved. Considering the Cubs are willing to eat a good portion of his remaing salary, I would be very surprised if he’s still a Cub come August 1st.

    1. Cubs Dude

      You’re preaching to the choir man. Anyone who has paid attention to the Cubs know Sori has been a very solid player in 2012. I really think there is stigma with that guy though. People really think he sucks, and it’s a matter of time until his leg falls off. I wish it wasn’t true so we could get something back, but it’s not happening. He’s definitely getting traded, but we’ll probably get a turd back. Frustrating as hell..

      1. gutshot5820

        I can’t disagree with you more. Soriano has value to the Cubs no matter what other ballclubs think. If they trade Soriano for nothing and pay all or most of his salray, how does that make any sense? They are going to have to pay a stop gap outfielder to replace his production. With his current effort, he has more value to the Cubs and would probably better to hold on to him than give him away. Maybe the reason he hasn’t been traded yet is because Theo wants value for him or will not trade him,

        1. Cubs Dude

          Ok, thats cool if you disagree with me. But considering the Cubs only goals this year is to develop young players, and have the worst record in baseball to obtain the #1 pick, I think Sori has limited value to them. The only value I think he brings is a good veteran presence. Other than that he is absolutely worthless, and the Cubs need to cash him in for anything before his leg blows up.
          But I do think he would bring value to a playoff team, but I still don’t think he’s thought of as a decent player in the mlb circles.

  13. Lvcubfan

    Sory’s 3 year contract makes him automatically less desirable than Lee, no matter what the numbers. If he only had one year left on the contract, he’d be wearing a different uniform by now.

  14. Cubs Dude

    Whats the contract matter if the Cubs are paying every dime of it? Which I am sure they would to get a decent haul back.

  15. morgan

    wish the royals would get in the running for garza, would love to see odorizzi, maybe the cards get in it, and the only way i see garza going to the cards if shelby miller is involved. was looking at the dodgers propects and nobody really stood out to me, not and expert but just saying. Cubs got some pieces with Castro, Rizzo, Wood, Samj, Russell, think this trading deadline is crucial for the cubs rebuilding process

  16. gutshot5820

    I don’t understand why people on here keep saying they respect LaHair or like Soriano but want them traded. If they get a good prospect that values their production then fine, but I don’t understand the need to trade two of your most productive hitters for nothing. What are you going to replace them with and how much is it going to cost you? Makes no sense to me.

    1. Toby

      Fans can still like and respect a player, but understand that they may need to be traded in order for the Cubs to become successful. LaHair and Soriano will be bring back value, but their overall value might end up being that they freed up their respective positions for players that figure into the Cub’s longterm plan. If LaHair gets traded then DeJesus moves back to RF and CF will go back to a Campana/Johnson platoon. If Soriano gets traded then Reed Johnson becomes the LF while Campana plays CF full-time. It will be interesting who would be brought up to take the roster spots vacated by LaHair and Soriano.

      1. gutshot5820

        “their overall value might end up being that they freed up their respective positions.” This is exactly what I’m talking about. Free up for who? LaHair and Soriano are their 4-5 hitters, who do the Cubs have that can replace their production? Don’t get me wrong, if they can get value from trades them I’m all for it. It’s just this nonsense that they should be traded at all costs to free up space that bothers me.

        1. Toby

          The 2012 season if pretty much over so if you can free up the space heading into 2013 season then you do it. Cubs will have options for next year if Soriano and LaHair are gone. I wouldn’t even be concerned about this year. The Cubs won’t make the playoffs with or without those two.

  17. Cubs fan 4748475

    Is it plausible if Soriano and Lahair were traded that Brett Jackson wouldn’t be promoted? I would love to see him not promoted this year because he just looks awful with that K rate down there and it will only get worse in the bigs and also I want to get an additional year of control on jackson to the one we will get this year because that means if Jackson does pan out that we will gain another year of control while hes in his prime.

  18. Cubs fan 4748475

    The cubs plan should be to trade everyone who has value and can get a good return of prospects. Clean house. Trade everybody besides maybe Dejesus/ Barney and Soto, (and Starlin of course) for veteran leadership and because I’m not sure they will net a fair value or good amount of prospects in return anyways, so just let them play through the trading deadline next year and then definitely trade Soto and Dejesus since they’ll be in the last year of their contracts or arbitration and hope they produce and up their value. Then just promote guys who are just filler guys like luis valbuena who really aren’t young or have a positive future. So leave down Josh Vitters, Brett Jackson, and Chris Rusin who are young and could have a some what decent looking Major league career. DON’T START ANYONES ARBITRATION CLOCK!! Bring up guys like Rodrigo Lopez who aren’t good but fill the spots so we don’t have to promote valuable prospects. That way we will definitely have the worst record in baseball and that garantees us the number 1 pick overall in next years draft and the biggest sign bonus pool in the draft and the international free agent signings next year. SACRIFICE THE PRESENT FOR THE FUTURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Drew7

      Dejesus is in the 1st year of a 2-year deal with a club option in 2014…

    2. RicoSanto

      Soto has got to go .He is awful and making 4.3 mil.Clevenger and Castillo will be th e 2 catchers next year. you are probably right on the pitchers . If Demp and Garza are traded they may have to start Wells,Coleman or Volsad.

  19. Andrew

    I would trade Jackson in a heart beat for some quality pitchingt. Don’t see him ever becoming a regular in the majors. The strikeouts totals are absolutely alarming. Vitters to me is by far the better prospect. Not sold on Jackson at all.

    1. dabynsky

      And that exact same reason is why other teams wouldn’t part with a top pitching prospect to get Jackson. His stock is probably at the lowest point in his time with the Cubs. The only pitcher another team would be willing to give up is a guy that has similarly glaring flaws. The best bet is to hope Jackson figures it out and/or is productive against the odds of his peripherals.

      1. Cubs fan 4748475

        The cubs have never been shopping Brett jackson for pitching prospects. I have never heard that reported. R u making that up or is that you own self opinion or thought they were doing that.

        1. dabynsky

          No one has said that the Cubs are. Andrew was suggesting that they should be.

          1. Cubs fan 4748475

            My bad. should have read through the whole convo

    2. Cubs fan 4748475

      Haha it makes me laugh that just a year ago that people have completely flip flopped their opinions of Brett jackson and Vitters. Vitters use to be the guy that would never make it and now Jacksons that guy and vitters is labeled the guy who is a blue chip prospect again

  20. Andrew

    Can anyone tell me about this alcantara kid down in Daytona? Seems to be tearing it up down there with plus speed. Time to give him a look at double A?

    1. dabynsky

      Keving Goldstein wrote this about him about a month ago:
      While the focus on the Cubs system is firmly on the Triple-A team and the prospects that will arrive in Wrigley this year, Alcantara has turned into a pop-up guy in the system. With five hits over the weekend, the 20-year-old Dominican is now batting .291/.315/.417 in 60 games this season. There are some holes in his game, in particular an overly-aggressive plate approach and sloppy throwing mechanics that have contributed to 22 errors, but he’s a line drive hitter with a quick bat, plus speed, and the tools to remain at short. Scouts see Alcantara as a good utility player, at the very least, and many give him a chance to be an everyday player if he continues to progress.

  21. Dude

    Alcantara’s fielding is horrid. 27 errors at SS already

    1. Scotti

      Generally speaking, 20-y/o SS’s have a lot of errors in full-season ball. The hand/eye development needed for the position has not had time enough to develop.

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        Also, errors are a horrible measure of fielding. Range is much more important: if Alcatara has good range, then he will be turning more balls into outs than will opposing shortstops with less range and fewer errors.

        1. Scotti

          Errors, and bad plays not called errors, can hurt momentum and cause a pitcher to labor to get out of an inning but I’d take a Dunston over a Theriot any day.

  22. Cubsin

    Didn’t we recently have this same conversation about Castro? Go to baseball-reference.com and look at the minor league stats of a dozen or so past or present major-league shortstops, and see how many errors they had at age 20. Range and tools are far more important than the number of minor-league errors a shortstop makes.

  23. Luke D

    We cannot, I repeat, cannot promote Josh Vitters before this season’s end. Jedstein won’t let it happen. He needs to play the whole season at AAA, develop more, shape up that defense and going into next year, we’ll have a third baseman fresh out of the oven.