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Friday, July 28, 2006

Brewers Trade Lee To Rangers In 6-Player Deal



From Adam McCalvy at MLB.com:

It became clear to the Brewers on Thursday that free-agent-to-be Carlos Lee was going to walk. So in the wee hours Friday morning, they sent their best player packing.

The Brewers traded Lee and promising outfield prospect Nelson Cruz to the Texas Rangers for reliever Francisco Cordero, outfielders Kevin Mench and Laynce Nix and Minor League left-hander Julian Cordero. Lee was on the way to another career year -- he led the Brewers this season with 28 home runs and 81 RBIs -- but faced with the likelihood of losing him after the season and getting only compensatory draft picks in return, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin went shopping.

Mench presumably will replace Lee in left field and Francisco Cordero should help a bullpen that surely needs it. Nix and Julian Cordero were assigned to Minor League affiliates.

Melvin bunkered down with his top lieutenants at Miller Park on Thursday after Lee and his agent, Adam Katz, rejected an offer of four years and $48 million. The Brewers would have gone higher on the dollars but not the years, but Katz and Lee wanted a five-year commitment, something the Brewers were not willing to offer a player who turned 30 last month.

"The response from Carlos' representative was that we were too far apart to even counter," Melvin said. "When we got off the phone yesterday, we knew he was going to leave the Brewers."

Lee said repeatedly he wanted to re-sign with Milwaukee and that, "it's up to Doug Melvin," but according to several sources Lee may have been feeling pressure from Katz and the Players Association to help set the free agent market for marquee outfielders.
"It's frustrating and disappointing," said Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio. "On a personal level, I was very fond of Carlos and obviously he's an enormously productive player. On the other hand, as I'm learning, this is a business."

Since the Brewers acquired him from the White Sox at the 2004 Winter Meetings, Lee had played in 264 straight games, 10 shy of Robin Yount's Brewers record. Lee has played in 275 straight games including the end of his last season in Chicago, the fifth-longest active streak in the Majors, and Lee is well on the way to his fourth straight 30-homer, 99-RBI season.

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