After just about a year of talking about it, the Braves finally added a REAL right-handed power bat to their lineup with the acquisition of 1B Derrek Lee from the Chicago Cubs. The deal was completed Wednesday and Lee joined the Braves Friday in, of course, Chicago as the Braves began a three-game series with the Cubs at the ‘Friendly Confines’ of Wrigley Field.
Even though Lee has had some back trouble this year, he is still a real power threat in the middle of the Braves lineup. He has killed the Braves in the past and it’s nice to know that he will be on our side now. In his career Lee has 9 seasons of 20+ home runs, with his career high being 46 in 2005.
Lee is also a Gold-Glove winner at 1B—Glaus was getting better in the field, but after watching Mark Teixeira for a year, it is amazing to see how a top-caliber fielder can change your entire infield defense.
So, what does this mean for Troy? Well, he is now on the 15-day DL and, after he rests his knees, will join the AAA team in Gwinnett to work on his swing and his defensive skills; at third base! It was reported by numerous sources that Glaus would not move to third, and maybe he won’t, but he certainly is going to give it a try. He is being a real team-guy and you can’t ask for anything more…well maybe a few more key RBIs.
After Chipper Jones went down with the ACL injury, let’s face it, the Braves were in a little trouble. I’m not saying Omar Infante can’t do the job, but really, he isn’t scaring anyone. Sometimes you need that big bopper in the middle of the lineup to create some fear in the opposing pitching staff. Someone has to compliment Brian McCann in the lineup and without Chipper they needed to some to step up, or step in…so Derrek Lee is going to be that guy.
If you were to tell me that the Braves would lose their Franchise player to a season-ending knee injury, their most versatile pitcher to Tommy John surgery, their first half MVP to a broken finger, their ROY candidate to a thumb injury (he still isn’t 100%), their All-Star/Gold Glove CF would be demoted to AAA (along with a starting pitcher) and their best clutch hitter from last year would be traded before the All-Star Break I would have said the team would end up close to last place; not the case.
Frank Wren has done a great job so far to ensure this team was going to be as competitive as possible. Maybe even more important, he didn’t let a bad situation linger to the point where is became a real burden, as things have in the past. McLouth and Kawakami are in AAA Gwinnett and Escobar is in Toronto…a year ago, I’m not so sure this would be the case; and look where they finished last year.
Martin Prado has carried this lineup all year, Tim Hudson has been the Ace he should have been when he first got to Atlanta, Jonny Venters has been a dominating setup man and Billy Wagner (for the most part) has been a shut-down closer, but it looks like the 2010 Braves MVP isn’t on the field…he’s in an air conditioned suite on the phone making this team better. He is the GM, Frank Wren.
Until next time… Go Braves!