Monday, July 2, 2012
Don't be angry at Carlos Lee
By David Schoenfield
Carlos Lee has played in 2,015 major league games, but only three playoff games -- back in 2000, when the Chicago White Sox were swept in the Division Series by the Seattle Mariners.
You'd think a guy with a long and successful career like his would relish the opportunity to play for a contender, but Lee reportedly vetoed a trade to the Dodgers. As a result, he's drawn some harsh criticism, with people suggesting he doesn't care about winning or that this is more evidence that he's just not a winning player. Or that he's more concerned about the cattle ranches he owns in Texas.
First, none of us can sit in judgment of whether Lee cares about winning. One thing that stands out to me: The guy is out there every day. He's played 160-plus games four times in his career and 150-plus 10 times. That doesn't sound like a guy who doesn't care.
Second, while Lee apparently waived his 10-and-5 rights (a player with 10 years in the majors, including the past five with this current team, can veto a trade), he did negotiate a limited no-trade clause in his contract. He's earned the right to veto this trade. I know Astros fans are frustrated, because they'd like to get a prospect in return for Lee, but this is a clause the Astros gave Lee. For Lee, it's apparently important to keep his family situation stable or remain close to his cattle ranches. That's understandable.
Look, Lee certainly realizes his reputation will probably suffer because of this. Or maybe he's holding out for a team he views as a better playoff contender than the Dodgers. For now, I believe it's fair to respect his decision.