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Could Indians Make Last-Minute Trade for Carlos Lee?

With just a few short hours left before Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline, the CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler reports that the Miami Marlins are “trying to unload” first baseman Carlos Lee. The Indians had been connected to Lee before the Astros dealt him to Miami earlier this month; might they be interested in acquiring his services again?

Lee is in the midst of a down year, but he still has some life left in his bat. The 36-year-old right-handed hitter is batting .284/.384/.396 (good for a 104 wRC+) with 6 home runs and 41 RBI in 87 games this year. His power is down from his usual level (.113 ISO), but he’s walking more than he’s striking out (9.1% to 6.9%). ZiPS expects him to regain some pop in the final two months with a .278/.333/.434 rest-of-season projection.

Lee wouldn’t really be a huge boost to the Tribe’s lineup; even if the team didn’t value Casey Kotchman‘s glove at a premium, Lee’s offensive production thus far has been about the same as Shelley Duncan‘s, and at this point he’s probably not as good of a hitter as Matt LaPorta. But the Indians would love to add a solid right-handed bat, and since the Marlins have so little leverage and the Astros are paying most of his 2012 salary “El Caballo” would come cheap both in terms of a trade return and payroll.

It’s unclear exactly what Miami’s asking price for Lee would be, and while demand for his services can’t be very high the Tribe probably isn’t the only team who would be interested. But with the Indians still holding onto their status as fringe contenders, it might be worth their while to trade a C-grade prospect to rent a decent right-handed bat.

Tags: Carlos Lee Miami Marlins

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