- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN Insider
That the Dodgers have targeted Carlos Lee to plug a hole in their lineup -- and one official assesses the odds of a deal happening at 50-50 -- tells you a couple of things:
1. The Dodgers are desperate to get help for their lineup -- any help. Because it's not a sure thing that Lee will help, given the fact that his OPS is about 160 points higher at home in Houston than on the road, and given that his history hitting in Dodger Stadium is somewhat mediocre. Lee is 36 years old, he's a defensive liability, and yet he represents an upgrade over the lineup that Don Mattingly has been forced to play because of injuries. Jose Bautista has as many home runs in June (14) as the combined season total for the eight position players who started for L.A. on Friday.
2. The trade market is woefully thin in options. "There is just not very much movement at all," one executive said the other day. "I count only six teams that are ready to sell." He listed the Cubs, Astros, Rockies, Athletics, Mariners and Twins.
Lee repeatedly has turned down overtures from the Astros about possible trades, exercising his right to veto deals, because he's comfortable where he is. But the Astros do have some leverage: They could tell Lee they intend to go with their young players, and that he won't have a lot of opportunities for at-bats the rest of the summer -- as he prepares for free agency in the fall.
Flying to L.A. early this morning; we'll have a full blog on Sunday.
9dJeff Banister, Special to ESPN.com
10dBrayan Pena, Special to ESPN.com
13dMatt Buschmann, Special to ESPN.com
14dA.J. Ellis, Special for ESPN.com
15dRob Manfred, Special to ESPN.com
15dSean Doolittle, Special to ESPN.com