MLB News: Braves to trade for Cubs’ Derrek Lee

Chicago Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee bats against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on July 30, 2010 in Denver.  Lee recently rejected a trade to the Los Angeles Angels and remains a Cubs player.   UPI Photo/Gary C. Caskey Photo via Newscom

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Braves will finalize a deal for Cubs’ first baseman Derrek Lee sometime on Wednesday.

Apparently the only thing holding up the deal is Lee’s troubling back. He had an injection in the epidural of his lower back on Monday to help ease the discomfort created by a bulging disk and has missed the past two games.

Lee is in the final year of his contract and is still owed $3.4 million. He has struggled for much of the season while hitting just .251 with 16 dingers in Chicago. But his .939 OPS since the All-Star break is attractive to the Braves, especially with Troy Glaus struggling at the dish.

Lee (who has a no-trade clause in his contract) can reject the deal, just as he did in July when the Cubs were ready to send him to the Angels. But Atlanta has reportedly already been told that he would accept a deal, so the only issue that remains is his back.

It’s doubtful that the Cubs will get much in return for Lee at this point, but the key is that they’ll get a little financial relief heading into what will be a rebuilding year in 2011. The youth movement is already on in Chicago, who has traded Ted Lilly, Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot over the past month.

Now if only the Cubs could find someone to take Alfonso Soriano, Koskue Fukudome and Carlos Zambrano off their hands.

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2010 MLB Preview: NL East

In order to help get you ready for the MLB season, we’re doing division-by-division rankings with quick overviews on how each club could fair in 2010. Next to each team, you’ll also find a corresponding number written in parenthesis, which indicates where we believe that club falls in a league-wide power ranking. Be sure to check back throughout the next two weeks leading up to the season, as we will be updating our content daily. Enjoy.

All 2010 MLB Preview Content | AL East Preview | AL Central Preview | AL West Preview | NL East | NL Central | NL West

Next up is the NL East.

1. Philadelphia Phillies (2)
Much like the Yankees in the American League, it’s hard to find bad things to say about the Phillies. They’re the three-time defending NL East champions and considering they’re ready to bring back the same core of players that got them to the World Series the past two years, there’s no reason to doubt them. Oh, and they added Roy Halladay. Roy, I’m going to dominate your face for nine innings, Halladay. If Cole Hamels rebounds and J.A. Happ’s 2009 wasn’t a fluke, the Phillies won’t suffer a setback this season. In fact, the pitching doesn’t even have to be that great with the likes of Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez taking up the first six spots in the order. The problem, however, is that Hamels might not bounce back and Happ’s ’09 season may have been a fluke. There’s also that nagging Brad Lidge closer issue that could haunt this club as well. That said, odds are that the Fighting Phils will be right back at the top of the NL East again this season. They’re too good, too talented and too experienced to fold and they have a great chance to reclaim their title back from the Yankees.

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Report: Troy Glaus used steroids in 2003

According to the New York Times, Cardinals’ third baseman Troy Glaus told investigators that he injected himself once every four days with performance-enhancing drugs starting in November of 2003 and continued using for three months after.

Troy GlaussEven after Major League Baseball and its players union bowed to pressure and started a testing program in 2003, the All-Star third baseman — Troy Glaus of the Anaheim Angels — and the worn-down pitcher — his teammate Scott Schoeneweis — said they continued using steroids. (Steroids had been banned in baseball since 1991, but there was no way to enforce the ban until 2003.)

Glaus said he was “willing to take the risk” because he needed to play, according to a report written by the federal agent who interviewed him. Schoeneweis said he knew when players were tested because he was his team’s union representative, according to the report, though Schoeneweis said in an interview last month that the agent misinterpreted him. A basic tenet of effective drug testing is that the element of surprise is essential.

It was in 2003 that Glaus, a four-time All-Star and the most valuable player of the 2002 World Series, went on the disabled list for the first time in his career. He injured his right shoulder while trying to field a bunt in July and a month later received a diagnosis of a partly torn rotator cuff and fraying labrum. He missed the rest of the season.

Frustrated with his rehabilitation, Glaus contacted Scruggs, whose only request was for a blood sample to see whether Glaus’s testosterone levels were low enough to warrant a prescription for steroids. Medical files seized from Scruggs’s office show the steroids were sent before Scruggs reviewed Glaus’s blood test.

Asked by the investigators whether he was concerned that Scruggs did not ask to see him, Glaus was quoted in the report as saying: “I just wanted to get better, it didn’t alarm me. I just wanted to get better and play.”

None of these steroids reports should surprise anyone anymore. It would be more of a surprise if a ball player said that they didn’t use steroids and they were proven innocent.

FBB Notes: Liriano to start opener, Street named closer, Wilson hurt

– The Twins placed RHP Scott Baker on the 15-day DL with right shoulder stiffness, which means Francisco Liriano will start for Minnesota on Opening Day. (Rotoworld.com)

– It appears that Huston Street has officially beat out Manny Corpas for the right to be named the Rockies’ Opening Day closer. (Denver Post)

– Giants’ closer Brian Wilson (who saved 41 games last season and made the All-Star Game) hasn’t pitched in eight days because of an infected middle finger and could miss Opening Day. San Fran would likely choose either Jeremy Affeldt or Bob Howry to close in Wilson isn’t ready by next Tuesday. (San Francisco Chronicle)

– Cardinals’ third basemen Troy Glaus might not return before the All-Star Break as he continues to rehab following shoulder surgery. (St. Louis Dispatch)

– The Reds are showing interest in outfielder Gary Sheffield, who was released by the Tigers last week. (Reds.mlb.com)

– Fernando Rodney has been named the Tigers’ closer for Opening Day, although manager Jim Leyland indicated that Brandon Lyon could still get the opportunity to close games early on. (Detroit Free Press)

2009 MLB Preview: #13 St. Louis Cardinals

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Offseason Movement: The biggest move the Cardinals made this offseason was acquiring former Padres’ shortstop Khalil Greene, who the club hopes will bring a little pop to the lineup. St. Louis also added pitchers Trever Miller and Dennys Reyes, the latter of which posted a 2.23 ERA in 46 1/3 innings last season in Minnesota.

Top Prospect: Colby Rasmus, OF
Rasmus isn’t just the Cardinals’ top prospect – he’s one of the top prospects in all of baseball. Although St. Louis is expected to go with Chris Duncan as their starting left fielder, Rasmus’ potential is going to force him onto the field in 2009. The 22-year old isn’t expected to produce a high average right away, but he flashes good power and speed, while his defense is above average as well. Rasmus is a stud prospect and could become a household name in the next couple years.

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