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Langosch: Pirates Likely To Offer Derrek Lee Arbitration

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Jenifer Langosch on Derrek Lee:

Lee probably represents the lowest risk, and I’d expect the Pirates to offer him arbitration. Lee seems unlikely to accept it, and if he did, the Pirates would be pleased to have him back. The club is already trying to re-sign him.

That the Pirates are trying to re-sign Lee is no real surprise, and I don't think they're actually going to be able to do it, but this news is, at least, encouraging with regard to the Pirates' decision about whether to offer Lee arbitration, which I hope they do. They'd then have a shot at a free-agent compensation pick, which would be a miracle - the Yankees and Red Sox get about a billion of these each year, but I can't recall the Pirates ever getting one. Literally, never. If they've ever had one, it was many, many years ago.

The unlikelihood of Lee re-signing with the Pirates probably renders this next point moot, but I'm coming around to the idea of keeping him, if possible. I'm not sure we should be especially swayed by Lee's excellent hitting with the Pirates, since he only played in 28 games, and at Lee's age, I think the difference between Lee and a Garrett Jones / Matt Hague platoon is likely to be smaller than most fans think. But re-signing Lee would allow the Pirates to use Jones (and Hague) as depth, and that's something the organization needs badly right now. Short of Starling Marte or Matt Curry or someone catching fire and providing big-league help in July or something, there's really no credible backup plan if a first baseman or outfielder gets hurt or flames out. And, for obvious reasons, I'm not that excited about the possibility of finding someone else better than Lee on the free-agent market. The Pirates would probably have to shell out a bit more for him than I'd ordinarily prefer, but given how tiny their payroll is right now and how weak the free-agent market is in general, that's probably not worth worrying about.