A look at the Carlos Lee for Francisco Cordero trade

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I know that this has nothing to do with fantasy baseball, but with the Brewers designating Laynce Nix for assignment earlier this week, I started thinking about the deal that brought him to Milwaukee.  It was July 29, 2006, and the Brewers traded Carlos Lee & Nelson Cruz to the Rangers in exchange for Francisco Cordero, Kevin Mench, Laynce Nix & Julian Cordero.  It was a huge deal at the time, but 2 years later you have to question if the Brewers got nearly enough for one of the better bats in all of baseball.

If all they gave up was Lee, that would be fine, but at the time it appeared that Nelson Cruz was nothing but a throw in for the trade.  Fast-forward 2 years, he is significantly better now then Mench or Nix, coming off a season in which he hit .341 with 37 HR and 100 RBI in the minor leagues before getting called up and continuing to rake (.327, 4 HR, 11 RBI in 52 AB).

Yes, they got a good season plus out of Francisco Cordero, but that’s about all they have to show for a player in Lee that was absolutely tremendous for the franchise in his year plus with the team.  They did get two compensatory picks in the 2008 MLB Draft, which turned out to be Jacob Odorizzi (#32 overall) and Seth Lintz (#53 overall), two high school pitchers.  Obviously, it is way too early to say what, if anything, they will mature into.

Texas got 2 picks when Carlos Lee bolted for Houston, taking Blake Beaven (a high school pitcher selected #17) and Julio Borbon (a college outfielder selected #35).  Borbon played in Single & Double A in ’08, stealing a total of 53 bases to go with a .321 average.

Are the two players the Brewers got going to be better then the ones Houston selected?  Who knows, honestly.  It is just way too soon to tell.

As for the other three players that the Brewers received, both Mench and Nix were designated for assignment, so the Brewers basically received nothing in return for them.  When I did a search on Julian Cordero, nothing came up, leading me to believe that he is no longer in the organization (but if anyone has more information on him, please let me know).

The truth of the matter is that they would have been just as well holding onto Lee till the end of the season and losing him on their own, as opposed to making this trade.  All they got were two draft picks, and in reality, because of who Cordero signed with, the picks would have been better had they lost Lee the year earlier.

This whole situation makes me reconsider the whole idea of making deals at the deadline.  Do some of them work for the team who is selling off their pieces?  Absolutely, but it is by far no guarantee.  Maybe looking back at this trade helped the Brewers decide to part with an unknown in Matt LaPorta (as well as other players) in order to acquire CC Sabathia to make a run at it this season.

I’m a huge prospect guy, as those who read the site know, and it’s not like the Brewers actually got prospects in return for Lee.  Still, it makes you wonder if sometimes holding out for the draft picks is actually the better, safer course of action.

You’ve seen more teams starting to do that in recent years, as big names rumored to be traded ultimately stay put when the team can’t get the type of bounty they had hoped for.  Looking at a deal like this, I have to wonder if that trend will not only continue, but become more likely.  Only time will tell for sure.

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