As far as we know as of late Saturday night, Carlos Lee has been traded to the Dodgers, possibly for pitching prospect Garrett Gould. Houston would send money along with Lee, but it appears L.A. would not need as much cash as some teams.
So, as we ponder what Lee's decision might be, let's run through the reasons why he'd accept a trade and why he'd prefer to stay with the Astros.
Reason for L.A. No. 1 - Playing for a winner: The Dodgers are in a pennant chase in the National League West and Lee could be a part of another playoff team. Lee has only been in the playoffs once in his career, back in 2000 with the Chicago White Sox. He only played in three games and hasn't sniffed the playoffs since.
At this point in his career, Lee might want to experience one last thrill of the playoff chase and get one more chance at a ring. Would that be enough to convince him to play half a season in L.A.?
Reason to stay No. 1 - Close to home: Lee has made plenty of decisions over his career based on one thing: playing at home. He's had exactly one chance to steer his own destiny, becoming a free agent after the 2006 season. At that time, all the talk was that Lee would only sign with a team in Texas or close to to Texas, because he wanted to be close to his ranch.
L.A. is not close to his ranch, thus, he may not want to play so far away. Plus, Lee actually has the leverage here to say, "No," and control his destiny again.
Reason for L.A. No. 2 - Free agency: Lee is in the final year of his contract and will be a free agent after this season. What else could boost his stock than playing a big role on a division winner and playoff team? Add in a hot streak at the right time in September or October and Lee could be in for another big payday.
The other side of free agency is that Lee isn't committing to a team for the long term. Any place he goes now, he'll be out of it in three months, if he wants. That gives him plenty of flexibility while also increasing his stock. Playing in Houston may help him there, but his profile would be so low that even a bounce-back season might not set him up for another payday.
Reason for L.A. No. 3 - Position flexibility: Let's say that Lee wants to increase his profile in free agency. What better way to do that than show he can play more than one position?
Yes, Lee is probably a defensive liability in the outfield, but he could still play left in a pinch. After all, the Dodgers had Manny Ramirez out there at one point, so they might not be that picky. Lee could pick up some starts in left as the right-handed part of a platoon with Bobby Abreu.
Then, when free agency comes up, he can take that to teams and argue he's more than just a first base/DH case. We know different, but he could make that argument.
Reason to stay No. 2 - Bad juju in Chavez Ravine: Lee just hasn't had as much success hitting at Dodger Stadium. He's got his 10th-lowest OPS at Dodger Stadium of all the active ones he's played at, and he's had a below-average home run rate there.
So, even though he's had a good season thus far, his power doesn't look to rebound any more in L.A. than it has in Houston. That, in turn, could affect how he feels about accepting this move, because of the aforementioned free agency bid.
I'm sure Lee has his own list of pro's and con's. He is reportedly talking things over with his wife and will make a decision Sunday. Hopefully, we'll hear about this soon, because, frankly, it's been driving me crazy all weekend. I want closure!