Braves Would Upgrade By Acquiring Derrek Lee

By acquiring Derrek Lee from the Chicago Cubs, the Braves would upgrade their offense, defense, and their bench. While Troy Glaus is almost a year younger than Derrek Lee, his offensive output is getting old fast, and so the Braves look to be moving quickly after the season ending injury to Chipper Jones to find a player who can add more offense to their lineup.

By replacing Glaus with Lee they can remove a player who has become an offensive liability, and replace him with a player whose offense is on the rise, and still keep both hot-hitting Venezuelans -- Martin Prado and Omar Infante -- in the lineup.

This first base replacement also brings another potent right-handed power bat into the everyday lineup, one that has been steadily getting better all year. Lee's monthly batting splits look like this:

Average On-Base Slugging
April .205 .327 .352
May .257 .352 .381
June .237 .308 .398
July .281 .330 .427
August .306 .381 .694

Whereas Glaus' monthly batting splits look like this:

Average On-Base Slugging
April .194 .310 .292
May .330 .408 .534
June .237 .364 .505
July .182 .312 .234
August .208 .255 .375

The decent overall numbers from Glaus were essentially a product of one and half months of stellar production. The rest of his performance this year has been below the Francoeur-line, whereas Lee has been getting better each month.

Lee is also a better defensive first baseman. Glaus' range has been limited in recent months because of his sore knees, so adding Lee would upgrade the Braves defense down the stretch, and at the same time it would remove the biggest defensive liability from the field.

Glaus would then move to a pinch hitting role (likely after a short stint on the disabled list to rest his knees and open up a roster spot for Lee), which adds another power bat to a bench that includes Eric Hinske and Brooks Conrad. The Atlanta bench was slightly depleted when the injury to Chipper Jones forced Omar Infante into regular duty, but Infante is the Braves hottest hitter and should remain in the lineup every day.

This rumored trade is actually a much better option than previously rumored deals that attempted to find a replacement third baseman. Martin Prado is perfectly capable of handling the hot corner, and Omar Infante is a solid defender at second base. Keeping those two in the lineup and in the field is important and removing Troy Glaus from the field and the lineup helps the team.

My guess is that with two first baseman on the team the Braves would not recall Freddie Freeman this year. If the Braves were looking at Freeman as an option he would have been called up already. By that non-move the team is sending a message that they want Freeman to get a full year of triple-A, and not have to worry about finding him playing time during a playoff run.

Don't get hung up on the Braves offering Lee arbitration at the end of the year either (assuming we acquire him). Atlanta would not want to get stuck with the one year bill were he to accept, and Lee would be a tougher player to move under the threat of arbitration than Rafael Soriano was last year.

Assuming that Lee's back is up to the challenge, it would be nice to see Lee in a Braves uniform by week's end. Perhaps we can complete a deal by tomorrow afternoon, and then just meet Lee in Chicago when the Braves open up a three-game set against the Cubs on Friday.

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