Braves don’t offer arbitration to free agent Derrek Lee

As expected, the Braves did not offer salary arbitration to free agent Derrek Lee, foregoing any chance of receiving draft compensation in exchange for him signing with another team.

That proposition was too risky for the Braves considering the veteran first baseman is coming off thumb surgery and would have commanded more than $10 million in arbitration. Had Lee accepted and not signed with another team, he would have been difficult to trade, and the Braves have prospect Freddie Freeman ready to take over at first base next season.

The Braves made that gamble and lost in 2003 when Greg Maddux accepted arbitration, made $14 million that year, and forced the Braves to trade Kevin Millwood.

Lee, 35, is a Type A free agent, which means had the Braves offered arbitration and he signed with another team, the Braves would have received that team’s first round draft pick in next year’s draft as well as a supplemental first round pick.

The Braves traded for Lee from the Cubs last August to play first base and give the middle of their lineup a lift over the stretch run. He arrived with lingering back problems and battled a thumb injury shortly after he joined the team. But he still hit .287 with 14 doubles, three homers and 24 RBIs in 39 games for the Braves.

The Braves also declined to offer arbitration to free agents Rick Ankiel, Kyle Farnsworth, Troy Glaus and Eric Hinske before Tuesday’s midnight deadline.

85 comments Add your comment

Gdot

November 23rd, 2010
12:45 pm

Damn I wish we brought him back. OH FIRST!

V

November 23rd, 2010
12:48 pm

what does all this mean? i’m still trying to understand how this works. do we think Lee is staying or going?

ryan c

November 23rd, 2010
12:49 pm

“The Braves made that gamble and lost in 2003 when Greg Maddux accepted arbitration, made $14 million that year, and forced the Braves to trade Kevin Millwood.”

This keeps getting brought up and I don’t really know why. Kevin Millwood made 10 million in 2003 and Maddux made 14. Maddux outpitched Millwood in ‘03 and the Braves also got 2 years of Johnny Estrada for under a million dollars, including a very productive 2004 that fangraphs valued him at 10.5 million. The Braves didn’t suffer too much from Maddux accepting arbitration.

450 footer!

November 23rd, 2010
12:50 pm

The Braves did the right thing. Don’t need any more older hurt players next year.

Nittany Lion

November 23rd, 2010
12:58 pm

What about Matt Diaz?

Malted Falcon

November 23rd, 2010
1:05 pm

Good riddance. Another double play waiting to happen. Now if we can just get a center fielder and get rid of Nate McClouth. The only mystery when he comes to the plate is will he ground out weakly to first or second…

wright_714

November 23rd, 2010
1:07 pm

Sixth….wait… I forgot this is stupid. Hope the Braves don’t let Hinske walk. I would rather play for a contender than the Brewers if the money is similar.

Bone head

November 23rd, 2010
1:08 pm

This is OK by me. Resign him for about 5 Million or less if you can, but if not say, bye bye.

Blade

November 23rd, 2010
1:09 pm

V – It means that Lee has to move on or take much less money from the Braves to stay. The Braves have a 95 million dollar pay roll that they have to stay under.. which is why we can’t be an All-Star team like the Yankees..

Greg

November 23rd, 2010
1:11 pm

Bone head? 5 million?
Nope. 2 million maybe. This is a business, too.

Braverman

November 23rd, 2010
1:12 pm

Ryan C hits the nail on the head on the Maddux fiasco, which was no fiasco in retrospect. I don’ t know who we replaced in the rotation for Millwood but I promise that having Maddux and that person was better than Millwood and that person. Not sure we made out as well on the Jesse Chavez deal that started with an unexpected acceptance of arbitration by Soriano. Anyway you look at it Lee ain’t donning an Atlanta unifiorm and will be hard pressed to find 10million on the market, so taking that risk was not worth it at all. Good move. Now non-tender Diaz also. Plenty of middling level hitters to choose from that could deliver what he does, which wasnt too much if you look at it objectively for a left fielder who is average to below in fielding.

NORRIS

November 23rd, 2010
1:14 pm

Would love to hear someone address the areas of concern for the braves still. Its like we get Uggla and everything is fine.
We still need an outfielder that could start if necessary. We need a back up firstbaseman as well.

freddy

November 23rd, 2010
1:15 pm

Greg you funny…2 mills is a joke..he can still play, probably get around 2 yrs 16 mills.

freddy

November 23rd, 2010
1:17 pm

Diaz is dead in the water..Braves don’t need a one tick pony, let him ride.

Josh

November 23rd, 2010
1:17 pm

McLouth isn’t the only guy in the world to have a bad year, Cory Hart looked like dog meat two seasons ago and turned back into an all star this year. Probably a better comparison is Chris Young in Arizona, he looked awful until a mid season demotion then came back and played solid. Best case scenario for Nate is probably .270/20/70 and maybe swipe 20-25 bags with a more aggressinve manager but he can bounce back from a bad year, its been done before.

freddy

November 23rd, 2010
1:18 pm

Braves need some speed..another Vince Coleman would be great…..Young are BJ.

V

November 23rd, 2010
1:19 pm

thanks, Blade!

Braverman

November 23rd, 2010
1:20 pm

Reality check here. McClouth for better or worse is starting somewhere in your 2011 outfield unless you trade bad contract for bad contract with someone. If Chipper is done you might see another starting outfielder signed, but for now your outfield is Prado-McClouth-Heyward. Live with it. No more help coming in terms of starting caliber outfielder, not happening. You may get another platoon type player to mix in with Hinske if he signs, but another big bat is not coming. Maybe a bullpen arm, 4th outfielder and a utility guy, nothing more. Chipper is the break point, if he’s in, no one else is, if he’s out, different story. So expect nothing before spring training on that area.

LD

November 23rd, 2010
1:24 pm

On a team with absolutely atrocious defense, D-Lee was a bright spot. I thought his glove work at 1B was the equal of anyone we’ve had, including Galarraga and Teixeira. I was disappointed in the lack of power production, but considering the thumb injury, he really performed very well—much better than Heyward did when his thumb was injured (similar injury? I don’t really know).

I know Freeman is supposed to be a stud at 1B, both offensively and defensively, and if he is, this won’t be an issue. Here’s hoping that as a “can’t miss” prospect, Freddie is more of the Heyward than Schafer/Marte variety.

Robert

November 23rd, 2010
1:27 pm

Hope Freddie Freeman pans out. He is a fine prospect, but is he ready for the show. Hope the Braves keep Hinske. If Freeman doesn’t work out, Hinske can play first. I hope McLouth has a comeback year, but a good left fielder is needed. Bring back Jeff Francouer and move him to left.

Triple play

November 23rd, 2010
1:27 pm

Go after Jon Rauch are Grant Balfour for relief help. Then get a good utility player with some pop in his bat. Upton would be nice in OF. GO Braves and Thanks Wren for Uggla Trade.

Leo Mazzone

November 23rd, 2010
1:28 pm

Greg Maddux 1994-1995 lowest two year ERA ever if not counting the deadball era, also the greatest separation in ERA ever from every other pitcher in the league with a 1.09 (second place is not close at 0.48), also the highest two year ERA ever. WHILE leading the league in EVERY stat, wins, win %, complete games, IP, etc. averaging an incredible 8.1 IP per start. Culminated with the world series win. And the guy was barely 27 years old.

Millions of articles were written at the time how Maddux was the greatest pitcher who ever lived, and how the Cy Young award should be renamed the Greg Maddux award. More than NINETY percent of ESPN voters voted Maddux as the pitcher they would most want to start a must win game, as you can imagine, second place was not close.

Now THAT is what dominance means.

Don Knots

November 23rd, 2010
1:29 pm

I really like Lee, but no place to put him.
However we could have kept Freeman in the minors one more year to develop power.

Triple play

November 23rd, 2010
1:30 pm

What happen if Freeman and Nate fall on their face? We are putting alot of trust in them…hope it don’t backfire.

Freddy

November 23rd, 2010
1:32 pm

well said Leo………………….Mazzone is missed!

Jimbo

November 23rd, 2010
1:33 pm

Bill Hall anyone!

JoeFan

November 23rd, 2010
1:36 pm

Could of offered Lee arbitration and if he accepted, the Braves could have moved Freeman to LF and had Lee at 1B. Prado moves to 3B and Chipper comes off the bench which is likely where he will be most of the season due to his nagging injuries. If Lee doesn’t accept and signs elsewhere, then the Braves are richer by two draft choices. Sounds like a good siutation from either side.

Don Knots

November 23rd, 2010
1:43 pm

Bill Hall is a great option

larry

November 23rd, 2010
1:45 pm

Braverman right on possible exception is Posednik intead of Hinske for not too much more money

Old Fan

November 23rd, 2010
1:45 pm

Just make sure all the Braves are in their last contract year with the club. That’s when they play like gangbusters, salivating at the prospect of a new contract.

Stone

November 23rd, 2010
1:49 pm

It would be nice to have Lee for one more year but not at the price he thinks he his worth. He would be a BIG help to Freeman, who I don’t think will be ready to produce next year. Lee will put up good numbers next year somewhere and I wish it was in Atlanta for around 3million. I know it will never happen though so maybe we will find another veteran first baseman to help Freeman get use to the majors. Like many people are saying, Bill Hall would be a great fit or even Ty Wiggington who wouldn’t be to expensive for what he actually does.

WTF??

November 23rd, 2010
1:52 pm

Bring back Derek Lee, with Chipper always hurt who will be the leader on the field???

stamper

November 23rd, 2010
1:58 pm

it fascinates me that there are people out there who thought we would have offered him arbitration.

ISH

November 23rd, 2010
2:06 pm

What we potentially have at first base is another revolving door black hole… No one can say that Freeman is going to be the man, he still has to prove that on the field… He hasn’t shown me anything yet at this level.

Disbott 3000

November 23rd, 2010
2:13 pm

Gang, Lee is a very good 1st baseman and all, but he had problems with injuries and had a very off year. Who’s to say that he will return to form next year and, if he were signed and didn’t, what would you say then? The smarter bet is to plan on Freeman for 1st (He IS ready) and try to sign Hinske on the cheap as a backup.

Disbott 3000

November 23rd, 2010
2:19 pm

I like Lee a lot, but at the moment he’s damaged goods, has not proven yet that he will be healthy for the season at all, and apparently wants $10 MILLION? We aren’t the buy-anyone-we-want Yankees and never will be. Freeman will do well enough.

ray

November 23rd, 2010
2:30 pm

the problem was giving up 3 prospects for a guy (Lee) we knew was a rental
one of the 3, Robinson Lopez, is supposed to be good. the other 2 are fringe guys, but the total package was excessive.
the Yanks got Kearns and Wood for a lot less.
typical Braves

Texas Frenchy

November 23rd, 2010
2:30 pm

Sign Hinske, if Freeman starts off slow he can step in & play, also provides power on the bench & exp. in the playoffs, if he played full time he hit 20+ bombs & over 80 rbi, we need his bat!

nelson

November 23rd, 2010
2:31 pm

good job OUT LEE , OUT !!

Speedy Gonzalez

November 23rd, 2010
2:36 pm

As long as Chipper is on the payroll, any more big moves will be in limbo, so the best thing for all is for him to not make it back so we can move forward instead of backward for 13 million reasons! Go Bravos

Dave

November 23rd, 2010
2:45 pm

This is a smart move. I don’t see any team going out of their way to trade for an aging star coming off surgery and having back problems. I’m ready for a full year of Freddie Freeman!!!! No pressure now that Uggla’s on board…he’d be hitting out of the 6 or 7 hole. Can’t wait for April!

gtjackets

November 23rd, 2010
3:14 pm

bill hall and eric hinske

ryan c

November 23rd, 2010
3:15 pm

regarding the lee trade…
if the braves dont trade for lee, the braves dont make it into the playoffs. he was worth about 1 win above replacement and the braves only snuck into the playoffs by that one game. he put up and .849 ops while playing above average defense.

the prospects we dealt would have had no major league impact for the braves.

timthebrave

November 23rd, 2010
3:27 pm

ryan c, it was smart to sign him and also smart not to offer arbitration

Ugg's Juggs

November 23rd, 2010
3:34 pm

D-Lee is a class act. Plays hard with no excuses. Bill Hall’s power to go with Hinske’s power does sound pretty good…idk about getting both though.

ryan c

November 23rd, 2010
3:41 pm

ray, kearns put up a .668 OPS with the yankees which would have actually been much worse than glaus. wood is irrevelant because he’s a pitcher. give it a rest. the deal was fine…

Ugg's Juggs

November 23rd, 2010
3:48 pm

“the problem was giving up 3 prospects for a guy (Lee) we knew was a rental
one of the 3, Robinson Lopez, is supposed to be good. the other 2 are fringe guys, but the total package was excessive.
the Yanks got Kearns and Wood for a lot less.
typical Braves”

wow

Brock

November 23rd, 2010
4:30 pm

Have the Braves had a decent CF since Andruw Jones? I can’t think of one. Pitiful really.

gadawgs

November 23rd, 2010
4:32 pm

Freeman is going to be fine. He is a stud. My only concern is third/lf depending what happens with Chipper. If he can’t go Prado moves to third and that’s great but what do we do in left. Wren is banking on Chipper coming back and playing 120-130 next year. When is the last time he was able to do that?

dpelfrey

November 23rd, 2010
4:33 pm

That’s one thing that bothers me about people analyzing trades after the fact. They always look at the current situation (i.e. Lee is no longer a Braves and we are short 3 prospects) to make it sound like such a horrible deal. But they completely ignore the production he provided while he was here. It’s the same with Drew and Teixeira. Even though I agree the Braves gave up way too much in both instances, the fact that Drew had his most productive year in 2004 and Teixeira mashed while he was here is never part of the post-analysis equation. I probably just opened myself up to some criticism with that statement. I should know better than to reopen old wounds.

Chuck

November 23rd, 2010
4:40 pm

You guys dogging Diaz are way off. Look at the guy’s stats. Last year he had a palm frond in his hand, so he only hit .280 – every other year he hits .320. He slimmed down to improve his speed and is a great personality to have in the clubhouse. He’s a stellar 4th outfielder, almost a regular player – way better than Hinske, Melke, McLouth, or Ankiel. Remember the guy he threw out at the plate in the play-offs? Nobody said much about it, but it took a perfect throw on the fly and he made it. Then people act like it was a blind hog finding a nut or something. What about the big HR right before the play-offs? Bobby was a nut for playing loaf of bread Melke in front of Diaz. Where else will you find a 4th outfielder that hits over .300 career?

bobbymahlon

November 23rd, 2010
4:42 pm

If we got Franceour back why you waste that arm in left field. Remember he has won a gold gove something that Heyward will never do (I think). Move Heyward to left or even try him in center. Sign Diaz for back up rolls at first and left field.

Kerry

November 23rd, 2010
4:59 pm

Yeah let’s put Heyward at SS, Prado at catcher, chipper at 1st, Gonzo in CF, Freeman pitching .. Cmon people!!! Do you all believe this is some kind of beer league?? We move one Person to LF and everyone is ready to play scramble the positions.. Next you all gonna be saying how about Matt Ryan play SF for the Hawks, Josh Smith in CF, what’s next??

Casey Strikes Out

November 23rd, 2010
5:04 pm

The next person to mention anything about Franceour needs to be banned or traded.

What about Matt?

November 23rd, 2010
5:56 pm

How long do the Braves have to offer arbitration to Matt Diaz? I know he has already said he would sign for the same money he made this year, but are not sure if he still fits into the plans.

Are the Braves not limited to the deadline tonight because he was not a Type A or Type B free agent?

steve

November 23rd, 2010
6:03 pm

Again I say… I can’t believe this team is comfortable with fragile freddie freeman at first base and expect to compete. Just because this guy hit a homer off Roy Halladay doesn’t mean squat. Walter Mondale won a state in 1984 as well… Mark my words.. this guy will be hitting .220 with 5 homers and 22 RBIs before he will be disabled and hopefully forgotten in mid june 2011.

Mark (another one)

November 23rd, 2010
6:52 pm

To me this was a no brainer, and I think Lee would have agreed. Few teams can afford a $10 million per year ‘extra’ player. The starting lineup is simple:

McCann C
Freeman 1st
Uggla 2nd
Gonzales SS
Chipper 3rd
Prado LF
McLouth CF
Heyward RF

Hinske, Diaz and Shaffer as reserve outfielders.
Ross as reserve catcher.
Prado backing up Chipper.
Hinske backing up Freeman.

That puts as at 12 position players, and we need some backup middle infielders. I don’t think Conrad is the answer (can’t play short) so we need someone with a glove and decent offense.

If we can get a proven bat, that would be wonderful. I just don’t see it happening in this market. I believe the Braves are committed to the farm system for their depth.

Mark (another one)

November 23rd, 2010
7:01 pm

Freddie is as ready as a minor league player can be. He was the AAA player of the year. Get him up and let him adjust. He certainly has the defense, and he has hit for power at each level.

Keith

November 23rd, 2010
7:03 pm

I really like D Lee and the veteran presence/bat/defense he provides. However, at 10 MIL he would be a huge liability with his injury risk…and would be way overpaid considering Crawford will probably land 15 MIL and is the best FA in teh league. So this is a good move overall. Also, Prado can play 1st if Freeman doesn’t work out. But I bet Freeman will do above average as a full rookie next year.

GO BRAVES! :)

Keith

November 23rd, 2010
7:04 pm

Re: Mark (another one)

Completely agree. No one knows how Freeman will fare, but he has maxed out his potential (and done extremely well) in AAA. It is his time. Put up or shut up.

south25

November 23rd, 2010
7:34 pm

Way to go Frank W you know what we needed and went out and got a right handed power hitter before any other team could make an offer for Dan U.. Maybe take a chance on Maglio Ordonez on a one year contract if the price is right. Never have enough power.

johnny king

November 23rd, 2010
8:33 pm

I would really like to see the Braves sign Eric Hinske. I know he is
not going to be your everyday player , although it would be good if he was.
His presence in the dugout and clubhouse after Chipper went down was the
key to their playoff run. Hinske will make a huge difference in the Atlanta Braves. Eveytime he came in to pinch hit, he didn’t always get a hit, but it
seemed to motivate everyone else. Hinske’s the MAN.

Rick_Matula_Tics

November 23rd, 2010
9:05 pm

We need Horner Perms at 3d and Murphy Moles in CF. POOF! We take the NL West.

Rick_Matula_Tics

November 23rd, 2010
9:08 pm

With Bill Naharodny off the plate and behind the bench.

Rick_Matula_Tics

November 23rd, 2010
9:10 pm

It was always tough living in Biff Pocoroba’s shadow for Bill Naharodny but then Biff cast a such a long Pocoroba.

Para Brave

November 23rd, 2010
9:10 pm

Pleaseeee no more Frenchy talk. The only time I want to see him in right field is if he falls out of the bleachers.

NW Floirda Fan

November 23rd, 2010
9:40 pm

Bring back Willie Harris!

Horner's Corner

November 23rd, 2010
9:43 pm

Xavier Nady should be the next off-season acquisition. He’s a right handed bat with power that can play both corner outfield positions and 1B. Not great at first, but good enough to start 15-20 games a year which will allow the Braves to rest Freeman versus some lefthanders.

Horner's Corner

November 23rd, 2010
9:44 pm

Of course I’m still holding my breath for Matt Murton!!!

Perennial Brave Optomist

November 23rd, 2010
10:56 pm

Should sign Hinske. Good chemistry for the club as well as his talent. Braves have gotten emotionally lazy before and it don’t help. Freeman plays every day for a while and it works or it doesn’t. Can’t help being optomistic with his record in AAA.

benchwarmer

November 24th, 2010
12:13 am

Yea put Josh Smith in center field. Not much will get over his head…..if he’s awake.

stew

November 24th, 2010
9:26 am

Hinske and Conrad are horrors defensively. Both seem to be decent pinch hitters. Conrad is a switch hitter who seems better off from the left side. Both should not play the field. As for Hinske being a sub for Freddie I don’t think so. We need decent starting pitching and 3 – 30 homer position players to win 100 games during the regular season (my goal for the Braves). We have the pitching. We have one position player certain to hit 30 homers (Uggla) and 3 position players with 30 home run potential (Chip/J-Hey/Mac). When was the last time we had one? Can’t we use the surplus starting pitching we have (Lowe/Huddy/JJ/Tommy/Minor/Beachy/Medlen/Teheran/Delgado/Vizcaino/Hoover and whoever else I might have overlooked) in a package to acquire a bat in CF. McLoser had an incredible stretch at the end of the year in which he could have hit 3 or 4 more homers but got robbed after which he fell right back into what he did in the beginning of the season. He never displayed any desire to make any throws.

BRAVES29

November 24th, 2010
11:42 am

The only way Diaz will see Turner Field next season, if he buys a ticket! He’s a dime a dozen player, easily replaceable. Let’s get more athletic in the OF.

Heisenberg

November 24th, 2010
12:57 pm

The only way to unload McOut is to package him with a low cost young pitcher. Say we will give you JJ but you must also take Nate and give us the player(s) we want in return. Unlikely to happen but there may be someone out there desperate enough for pitching to consider it.

Braves29 – I like Diaz but must accept he does not appear to be part of plans for 2011. Do not discount the possibility though we could see him when Pirates come to town.

don

November 24th, 2010
1:33 pm

I would doubt that Francoeur would have any interest in returning to the Braves.

vermont 39

November 24th, 2010
3:01 pm

Why would we want Frenchy…he didn’t tear it up…in NY and was only OK in Texas.

Dorothy Davis

November 24th, 2010
3:47 pm

The Braves better hang onto Hinske untill they find out if Freddy can handle first and a major league bat. Don’t forget Schafer, who fizzled. Better to have a plan B, than live with a mistake, and I can list a few of them, beginning with Kamakazi, Lee, McLouth, etc. etc.

bostonbravo

November 24th, 2010
4:39 pm

screw Hinske & Glaus. And -
Freddie Freeman has a lonnngggggg way to go to replace D. Lee.

spike

November 24th, 2010
7:29 pm

Matt Diaz, career –
.301/.350/.456 OPS+111

vs LHP
.335 /.373/.533

Yeah, totally a dime a dozen – get a guy like that anywhere.

old timer

November 25th, 2010
8:44 am

I think Frenchy could play center better than any of the guys we had out there last year. I am for bringing him back. Put him or Heyward in center, the other in right. Ain’t no beer league, yeah, but Cox talked about Heyward in center last year. Didn’t Dale Murphy move from right to center, from catcher? Man never had a beer in his life.

whogee

November 25th, 2010
11:41 am

who the hell is derik lee

Steven Lemon

November 25th, 2010
12:49 pm

JoeFan, the problem with your proposal is that (personally) I think Derek Lee, even in great health, is about done as an offensive force. His production was down the last two years in Chicago and no one was afraid to pitch to him. Putting Freeman in a strange new position to start his career is not such a good idea, IMHO. Better to let DL go, try Freeman/Hinske at first. As for Diaz, I’d keep him rather than bring in someon who’s skills we do not know. Matty D has given the Braves enough big contributions to warrant at least another shot. I’d rather see him in center than Nate.

rick p

November 27th, 2010
3:40 pm

I dont get kicking away the two #1 picks. If Lee accepts, and you feel you cant afford him, trade him for nothing as they did with Soriano last year

Unless of course we’ve reached the point where we cant even afford draft picks

I really hope they are serious about Matt Young being given a shot to compete for CF. They handed the job to McLouse the day they got him and he played himself right to AAA, where he did worse than Young. He’s got nothing coming

Old Fan

November 23rd, 2010
1:45 pm
Just make sure all the Braves are in their last contract year with the club. That’s when they play like gangbusters, salivating at the prospect of a new contract
——-
I dont think that theory holds much water, and it sounds REALLY dumb in a thread about Derek Lee who had a tough year in his “payday” season (as did Javy Vazquez, Brad Hawpe and Derek Jeter just to name a few

bravesnfalcons

November 29th, 2010
5:24 am

it means if we offered lee arbitration and he didnt accepted it. We would recieve to supplemental draft picks. Both either first or second round picks from the team that signed him. If he did accept it we would be stuck with him and eleven million on the books for next year. He would have no where to play with Freeman as our First baseman and we would be stuck with him because no one would want to trade for him with his injuries declining numbers and his salary.

Bird Dog

November 29th, 2010
4:02 pm

I don’t know why not, according to braves announcers he’s a great player!
you don’t think they would sugercoat do you?

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