I saw, in Richard Durrett's chat session today, another reference to the Rangers needing to sign Carlos Lee to an extension, that Tom Hicks wouldn't have allowed Jon Daniels to make the deal if Hicks weren't willing to pay for an extension.
I don't know if Hicks would be willing to pay for an extension for Carlos Lee. I suspect he would, given that, with Cordero and Mench gone, the Rangers have only about $43 million in salary obligations for guys under contract in 2007, arbitration-eligible players, and Alex Rodriguez.
But I still find it difficult to believe that Jon Daniels is going to give Carlos Lee the type of contract that he is asking for.
5 years, $65 million for Carlos Lee? Carlos Freaking Lee? Come on...how can any Ranger fan want the Rangers to do that? Go look at his stats. Go ahead, look...I'll wait...
Carlos Lee is a career .280 EQA guy. That's good, not great, for a corner outfield...particularly a corner outfielder who isn't much of a defensive player.
Carlos Lee is 30 years old. And he's also a big, heavy guy. Guys with Lee's size and skill set don't tend to age real well.
If you look at Lee's PECOTA comps, it paints a scary picture for whoever gives him his big contract. His #1 comp is Ivan Calderon. #2 is Kevin McReynolds.
After that, among others, you've got guys like Willie Horton, Jim Rice, Kevin Young, Richie Zisk, Bobby Bonilla, Jesse Barfield...big, slow, righthanded sluggers who were pretty good players for a while, then cratered quickly after about age 31.
Assuming he gets the big, 5 year deal he wants, by about the All Star Break, 2009, Carlos Lee and his contract will be one of the biggest albatrosses in baseball. He probably won't be able to do much besides DH. He probably won't be hitting much. And he'll probably end up on the Yankees, with whatever team originally signed him paying the majority of his contract so the Yanks can have him as a platoon DH or something.
There is no reason -- ZERO -- to believe that Carlos Lee is going to be worth the contract he's going to get this offseason.
And I have to think Jon Daniels knew that when he made the deal. I at least want to believe that he made the trade expecting Lee to walk at season's end, made the deal feeling that two months of Lee, plus Nelson Cruz, plus a couple of first rounders, was worth giving up Kevin Mench, Laynce Nix, and Francisco and Julian Cordero.
Because if he made the deal hoping to sign Lee to a Ho/Beltre-type contract, then he's not the g.m. I think he is.
What's the alternative? Well, something to think about...the Yankees are going to have an outfield of Matsui, Damon and Abreu next season. They hold a $13 million option on Gary Sheffield, but they seem unlikely to exercise it, given that he doesn't really have anywhere to play (unless he or Jason Giambi goes to first base).
If the Rangers really feel that they need a power hitting corner outfielder next year (and I'm not sure that they aren't going to roll with Wilkerson, Cruz and Botts in the corner OF/DH slots), why not give the Yankees a K.C. Herren or an Emerson Frostad, take Sheffield, and exercise his option?
Wouldn't the Rangers be a hell of a lot better off with Gary Sheffield for one year, $13 million in 2007? Isn't there a pretty good chance Sheffield will be a better player than Lee in 2007 anyway?
Or what about Craig Wilson? He's going to be a free agent, he's put up similar numbers to Lee throughout his career, and he probably could be had for 2 years, $10 million. Why not grab him, if you want someone to fill that role?
For the life of me, I can't understand why people keep saying that the Rangers need to sign Carlos Lee to an extension. What that would do is turn a very good trade for the Rangers into a very bad deal for the Rangers.