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Pregame: Trading places


DerrekLeePHILADELPHIA — They filmed the ’80s flick “Trading Places” here, so I guess it’s appropriate to make that the them for today. You already know about Derrek Lee — more on him in a moment. But there’s also this, from a few trusty sources around the game …

The Pirates continue to reach out for an outfielder. As of late this morning, they were still in play for Ryan Ludwick. But I’m told he is not their top target. Jason Kubel, perhaps? The Pirates also would welcome some pitching help, especially another late-inning reliever.

»»» Manager Clint Hurdle said the team must decided by pregame Monday whether or not to put shortstop Ronny Cedeno (right knee) on the DL. Cedeno took the hint and said he feels pretty good about his chances of playing tomorrow.

»»» Now, on to Lee. He will NOT join the team today, even though he played yesterday in New York, a two-hour drive up the highway from here. Lyle Overbay will start today at first base against the Phillies. Will Overbay still be with the Pirates after Lee arrives? Probably not.

… I asked Overbay how he felt about the situation. “What situation?” Overbay replied. “I don’t know anything different than you do.” I don’t buy that. Overbay and Hurdle had a private talk in the skipper’s office this morning. A half-hour later, after the bulk of the players arrived on the team bus, there was a closed-door team meeting in the clubhouse.

… Hurdle’s reaction to getting Lee: “I am happy. He’ll get the volume of games at first base. He’s a veteran major league player who’s got a very strong pedigree. We believe he’s got good, productive baseball left in him. I spoke with him last night. He’s anxious to join the club.”

… The Pirates essentially will pick up the balance of Lee’s contract, which puts them on the hook for about $2.3 million. The Orioles will cover whatever bonus clauses Lee triggers the rest of the way.

Lineups for today’s game:

Pirates (54-51) – 1. Xavier Paul lf, 2. Garrett Jones rf, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Neil Walker 2b, 5. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 6. Lyle Overbay 1b, 7. Brandon Wood ss, 8. Eric Fryer c, 9. Jeff Karstens rhp (8-5, 2.41)

Phillies (67-39) – 1. Jimmy Rollins ss, 2. Shane Victorino cf, 3. Chase Utley 2b, 4. Ryan Howard 1b, 5. Hunter Pence rf, 6. Raul Ibanez lf, 7. Brian Schneider c, 8. Michael Martinez 3b, 9. Vance Worley rhp (7-1, 2.02)



  1. Chris says:

    I am a little bit miffed that D Lee doesn’t join the team today while we are trying to salvage a game from the phils. Also, how odd is it that Overbay plays today knowing that he has been replaced-will make for a very uncomfortable clubhouse today :( Look for the bucs to be thoroughly beaten up today & am a bit concerned that Lee may pull a Mondesi & simply never show up – this seems to be a very odd story. Has this ever happened before where a player who was traded to a contending team took 2 days to join that contending team?

  2. TheSaltyRogue says:

    Derek Lee isn’t a baseball card – he’s a real live human being, I’m assuming with some sort of family that may need attention before he moves to a new city. “I spoke with him last night. He’s anxious to join the club.” – Clint Hurdle from above… doesn’t seem at all to be what you’re freaking out about (that he’s gonna screw ya over and not show up).

    Just saying.

    GO BUCS.

  3. Share your sentiment, but not completely… Like most veterans, Lee is chasing a ring. I am certain he is happy to join the Pirates vs. the Orioles, but he’ll get here when he gets here. I see him in the line-up against the Cubs Monday in Pittsburgh. Lee is certainly an upgrade over Overbay, but anybody who thinks this team is now primed to contend is mistaken. Playing Overbay seems comical, but Hurdle looks around his clubhouse and his options are truly limited given the injuries and the simple lack of talent.

  4. densum2 says:

    @ Chris

    He’s a rental player that went from a last place team to a contender. Even if he has no desire to play here, he can stick it out for 2 months and go elsewhere. No need to panic.

  5. Chuck H. says:

    Once more Veras has screwed up a game for the Bucs. I don’t know why he’s still here.
    I count four games to my memory that he has allowed the other team to either tie or go ahead late in the game. Why not trade him? Because probably no other team wants him. We would look awfully good if we had those four games in the win column, wouldn’t we? And what about Pressley- have they gotten rid of him or what??? I hate the Phillys!!
    About Derek Lee-how good is he now? When with the Cubs, he murdered us all the time with timely hits, but has age caught up with him? GO,BUCS

  6. Veras was good early… and has slipped recently… No way to trade him… and the alternative might be worse… Presley is hurt… If not, he’d be leading off every day… Look for the storybook season to start to unravel now… Lee and Ludwick are decent upgrades and we didn’t give up any quality prospects, but the games are getting tighter and the pitching has started the downward spiral… Starters continue to amaze, but there’s so little room for error with little or no offense each night… and the relievers are slipping as the innings start to mount… This is a crucial week… I’m gonna say we need 6 out of 7 on the homestand… It’s the Cubs and the Padres… two teams eliminated… We have two new bats… If we lose ground this week to the Brewers, forget about the playoffs and start thinking about finishing above .500, which I think is in serious jeopardy…It has been a great four months of baseball, but unless Lee and Ludwick go on a complete tear…that sound you just heard was the end of baseball season…Football season has begun…

  7. SoCalHrlyRidr says:

    The pitching has started to unravel… true. BUT they have overachieved completely hence the reason we are where we are… It’s not because Alvarez has 25 hrs…. If the pitching goes back to just being above average and the hitting starts up SOME TIME THIS SEASON…. we will win 66% of the remaining games and win the central…. Do not blame the “slip” in pitching cuz if we had hitting, we would have taken two of three from the Phils…

  8. joel says:

    I am glad the Pirates did not trade Maholm, Hanrahan, Watson, Allie, Tallion Stallion, and Herdia as they are the present and future of the Pirates. Maybe the Nuttings will back their word and extent contracts to the first three plus Walker and Cutch. I am not going to hold my breath waiting.

    This team for next year stiil needs a SS and a RFer and [maybe] a starting pitcher as Morton and J Mac are shaky. The AAA pitchers are pitching like minor leagures, Mike hotrod Lincoln pitches three innings yesterday and gave up 11 hits and 7 or 8 runs.

  9. Chuck H. says:

    I think we should have given Veras his walking papers and kept Ciriaco for infield depth.
    I cringe every time Veras goes into a close game, because I know he’s probably going to walk the first batter he faces.

  10. Paul says:

    None of it matters at this point as these trades can best be described as to little to late. Neal Huntington needed to make moves, better than these, BEFORE that ten game stretch that began with the Cards. Look at the swing that just took place, from first place and seven games over .500 to third place, 5.5 games back and 7 down in the win column to the Brewers and one game over .500 in almost the blink of an eye. The front office needed to act to allow the team to keep pace, not to play catch up from a position that the teams we considered out of it and trying to makes trade with were in.

    Two new additions later and they still can’t score more than 3 runs a game. Just not enough offense here to make up the difference now.

  11. Chuck H. says:

    I agree with Paul-too many automatic outs on this team, especially with runners in scoring position. Now, for beginners, I would send Alverez back to Indy, once more, until he learns how to hit and how to play third base, even if it takes the rest of the season. He sure isn’t helping the team the way he’s playing now. And it continues to boggle my mind, how we can put up with the ineptness of Jose Veras. He throws hard, but he doesn’t know where the ball is going. If we’re going to keep him, for some unknown reason, he needs at least a five run lead, and then it’s iffy. I hope the addition of Lee and Ludwick give us a boost. GO< BUCS!!!

  12. Chuck H. says:

    Well I hope they are happy now-back to .500 baseball and sinking. What has happened to the pitching staff? For once we got enough runs to win most games, but not enough outs. And against the lowly Cubs, Ugh!We finally got the Jones Boy going, as we know he can, but when is Ludwick going to get a hit- any kind of hit? Look out, we’re heading for the cellar. Didn’t know that terrible blown call would have such an effect on the team.

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