The Miami Marlins completed a trade for Houston Astros first baseman Carlos Lee on Wednesday afternoon, acquiring the bat for minor leaguers Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen. The move for Lee was undoubtedly done to upgrade the Marlins bat at first base, as Gaby Sanchez has struggled at the plate.
SB Nation's Marlins blog Fish Stripes notes that Lee is an upgrade at the plate, but how much of an upgrade is he really?
The problem is that his future performance is not all that great. Lee is currently hitting .286/.336/.412 (.325 wOBA) and has hit just .265/.320/.428 (.324 wOBA) the last three seasons. ZiPS is projecting a very similar .277/.326/.431 (.325 wOBA) line for the rest of the season. All in all, it basically points to Lee being a guy who is just a little better than the league average at the plate. First basemen are supposed to be significantly better than league average to be worth your time, and there does not seem to be any sign of improvement on Lee's side.
Of course, the Marlins as a whole have gotten a .206/.261/.304 line from their first basemen, so it is understandable why even Lee's bat would be a significant upgrade.
At the rate at which Sanchez was going, Lee brings a significant upgrade to the Marlins lineup, but he's also an older player on the tail end of a massive contract. Lee's power numbers are also down this season so it will be curious to see how he performs down the stretch of the season.