Houston Loses Trade, Series In One Fell Swoop

Did he lose a contact again?

Maybe the Carlos Lee melodrama that played out this weekend can't be used as a metaphor for this entire team. After all, he's one of the better hitters on a squad that just can't score any runs at all on the road (or at home lately).

But, it was damned distracting to have him in the headlines constantly for the last two day as he weighed a trade that would send him to L.A. Ultimately, it sounds like the Dodgers pulled out right as Lee was ready to say no, so both sides can claim it was a mutual breakup. Or something.

I can't even blame the pitching for the recent spate of losing, since Wandy and Happy pitched well the past two days. They both ran into bumpy innings, but didn't give up a ton of runs. If the Houston offense had been clicking in any way, they could have won both.

Instead, they're flying to Pittsburgh with Carlos Lee still in tow. Maybe they'll find some offense in the meantime.

What's still unclear is how much trade value Lee has right now. The Dodgers were willing to both eat some of his $9 million left this season and give up a decent prospect. That suggests he's got more value than, say, Kevin Youkilis did. Frankly, I'm surprised he's got value at all. I've been resigned for years now that he'll simply finish out his contract and be done with it.

Ultimately, though, it was Lee's decision to make and he did it. We may not like it, because we tend to side with the team over the players. But, from his perspective, he had a rare opportunity to control his own fate and he took it. Most of us do the same thing all the time in our work lives, but professional baseball players have little of that freedom.

I'm not saying we should sympathize with Lee. It's just hard to think less of someone for exercising some personal judgment in his work life. I wish things had worked out differently, but another three months of Lee won't hurt anything.

We hope.

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