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Saturday, September 08, 2001

Slumping Lee cause for Phils’ concern

How long will a level a play be allowed to be called a slump before it actually is determined that this is what a player is? Lee has never come close to approaching the lofty expectations predicted for him. Like Parcells said, “You are what you are.”

The Original Gary Posted: September 08, 2001 at 10:09 PM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. RichRifkin Posted: September 09, 2001 at 07:33 PM (#72540)
"General manager Ed Wade said at the winter meetings last year that he was asked by several of his peers if Lee was available."

I wonder who those GM's were? Cam Bonifay? Randy Smith? Allard Baird? Kevin Malone? Peter Angelos? Chuck LaMar? Gord Ash?

I guess if you have a highly overpaid bust, there's always someone foolish enough to pawn him off on.
   2. RichRifkin Posted: September 09, 2001 at 08:09 PM (#72542)
"With Lee looking like the promising young hitter many thought he would be when he signed a $10 million contract before he played a professional game..."

I just looked up Travis Lee's salary for 2001, and it is $800,000. I didn't realize that he already was paid the $10 million by the Diamondbacks.

So I should amend my statement above. With career numbers of .252/.341/.402, Lee is still a bust. And at $800,000, he's overpaid. But he's not highly overpaid.
   3. Darren Posted: September 09, 2001 at 10:04 PM (#72543)
I'd say his potential makes $800K a reasonable figure. Basically, it's worth the risk to hold onto him.
   4. Big Ed Posted: September 10, 2001 at 05:39 PM (#72544)
It kind of reminds me of a Ted Williams quote I think I saw via Ball Four, "If a guy is a .250 hitter, I don't care if he's hitting .300 now, at the end of the season, he'll be hitting .250." Maybe it's time to realize Lee is a .260 hitter.
   5. scruff Posted: September 10, 2001 at 06:06 PM (#72545)
Lee turned 26 May 26, 2001.

Through his 26th birthday 9/13/1994, Bernie Williams was a .269 hitter in 1556 AB's. He was almost traded for Darren Lewis, even up that winter.

Since then, he's a .321 hitter (not counting 2001) in 3250 AB's.

Bernie had 32 HR at that point, in 3 seasons worth of AB's. 11 HR per 550 ABs.

Since then he's hit 149 in 6 seasons worth. 25 HR per 550 AB.

Not every player will develop like Bernie, and those numbers are nudged a little by the offensive explosion (although 975 of the 1556 AB came in 93-94, after the explosion). But you'd be amazed at how a 26-28 year old hitter with 4 seasons of major league experience under his belt can develop. That's the difference between a 22 year old prospect and a 26 year old prospect (with the same stats and experience). The 22 year old has 4 years to experience the ups and downs before hitting his prime. Once the 26 year old has that experience, he'll be 30 and past his prime. I'm not counting Lee as a bust just yet. He's still got time to develop. Next year is huge for him in my opinion.

That being said, if I had a good team and a good 1B or RF I wouldn't risk it. I'm not going to move a Mark Grace off to give Lee a chance (although I would for Durazo, because he's just flat better than Grace) IF MY TEAM HAS A GOOD CHANCE AT WINNING NOW. But for a bad team not to give him $800K and a shot and instead play a "proven veteran" like Lee Stevens or Rico Brogna is just stupid (my not knowing the ins and outs of being a GM not withstanding).
   6. Cris E Posted: September 10, 2001 at 07:40 PM (#72546)
Excellent points scruff, but I'd broaden your statement to include just about any team that isn't actively shaping a roster for possible post-season play. $800K is not a lot of money these days, and I'd bet that he could achieve his breakthru (or not...) on 200-300 PAs as a platoon player if you didn't want to commit to him full time. He's got enough experience that he should be able to sit around a little and still play as well as he's going to, plus he can play some OF, plus he could improve and maybe a lot. As someone who just watched his GM snooze thru an extended injury to his 1b (my Twins' Ortiz) and couldn't replace his traded RF (Lawton), I can say that I wish we'd brought him in for a look-see. And I'll bet ANA fans would not have been upset to see him filling in for Mo, or NYM dropping him in for Zeile and/or an OF spot, or ATL trying him instead of Rico, or...

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