Monday, December 13, 2004

Lee To Brewers For Bag Of Balls, Other Less Useful Things

CHICAGO -- (Tribune News Services) The White Sox acquired outfielder Scott Podsednik, the Sporting News 2003 National League Rookie of the Year, right-handed pitcher Luis Vizcaino and a player to be named later from the Brewers in exchange for outfielder Carlos Lee Monday.

For a leadoff man, Posednik sure can't reach base. His .313 OBP is craptastic, he's actually older than Lee and getting inconsistent right-hander with a career ERA over 4.50 doesn't begin to even this deal up to what you'd consider reasonable.

The Sox do save more than $7 million on this deal, so if they can go out and land another pitcher of the Matt Clement- or Odalis Perez-caliber, this won't be too terrible. But as is, this is a horrible deal. Even with the money saved.

Lee probably was a bit overpaid at $8 million per year, but he was terrifically consistent. He posted OPS+ marks of 119, 116 and 123 over the past three years and only in his rookie campaign did he come in below league average (and only barely with a 98). Oh, and he's still younger than the guy the Sox just traded for.

Posednik, meanwhile, was only above average in 2003 when he rode a high batting average (for him at .273) to a 112 OBP+. And despite a MLB-leading 70 stolen bases last year, he'll still have a difficult time stealing first.

Moreover, the Sox were already set in center field with Aaron Rowand coming back after leading the team in OPS. That was while playing great defense. Maybe even better than Posednik, who admittedly is good (way above-average range factors).

But with Rowand already in the fold, the Sox had an option to put a hitter just like this in the leadoff spot in Willie Harris.

Harris, who is younger still (only 26 on this Opening Day), posted a better OBP at .343. And he's also left handed -- same as Posednik.

Overall, this deal just doesn't make any sense for the Sox. They had a guy with the same leadoff abilities, a center fielder and they didn't need another right-hander for the bullpen. The only thing that they get from this is the cash savings... and where that goes, who knows?