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Should The Cubs Extend Derrek Lee?
Written by wrigleyville   
Sunday, 24 January 2010

Phil Rogers notices that Derrek Lee's contract is up after 2010 (as is Paul Konerko's) - and he has just the answer for how to deal with this:

At 33 and 34 respectively, Konerko and Lee have moved beyond their actuarial peaks. They pose difficult decisions and theoretically huge risks for general managers Ken Williams and Jim Hendry, who aren't likely to give them three- or four-year deals at another $12 million or $13 million per year.

But you don't let players like these just walk away, not when there's a reasonable chance of playing high-stakes games in September and October. The White Sox and Cubs would be smart to approach Konerko and Lee with contract extensions — one-year deals at existing levels for 2011, possibly with vesting options that could trigger a second year at the same level in '12.

If you're the Cubs, an argument could be made to do this - though it feels somewhat expensive for a 35-year-old first baseman when the team will finally begin to shed payroll. There would be some other options out there via free agency, as well, assuming the system hasn't produced a MLB-ready replacement.

(click "read more" for full article)

And if you're Derrek Lee, would you sign this deal? Any injury ensures the option wouldn't be triggered and he would be another year older with an abbreviated season under his belt headed into free agency. One would think Lee would pursue a three-year deal at, say, $30 million to get him to retirement.

As for Rogers' contention Lee should be kept because there's a "reasonable chance of playing high-stakes games in September and October," this is the same columnist who recently told us that the Cubs were no better than the third best team in the NL Central - suggesting, if he's right, the Cubs don't have a "reasonable chance" of playing high-stakes games late in the season.

And is Lee the answer? In the postseason, Lee's .263/.320/.358 batting line with one homer and eight RBI in 95 at-bats isn't the stuff legends are made of - though September has been his second best month over this career.

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